Changing Malaria Behaviors Through Religious Leaders and Volunteers

Jul 2018
Ana Maria Teixeira accompanied by PIRCOM Volunteer Olga Albino.

Ana Maria Teixeira is 40 years old and lives in the district of Chókwè, located in the province of Gaza, Mozambique. Four years ago, she lost her eldest daughter who was 24 years old. Ana Maria remembers this loss sadly, "She got sick there in Maputo and moved here. She had headaches, warmth in her body and little action on her arms and legs”. After a week at home without going to the hospital and without improving her health, Teixeira decided to take her daughter to the healer, but he could not treat her. Back home the young woman lost her life.

She knows now that she should have taken her daughter to the hospital immediately as soon as she saw her sick. The illness her daughter had, in her opinion, could only be malaria because she felt the symptoms she saw in her daughter, were the same as the volunteers explained regarding malaria. Teixeira had little information about the disease and began to hear more about malaria with the Programa Inter Religiosa contra a malaria in Mozambique (PIRCOM) volunteers who walk from house to house in her neighborhood, talking to families explaining what malaria is, what to do when someone is sick and how they can be prevented.

Since PIRCOM volunteers visited her house, Teixeira and her orphaned grandchildren have been sleeping under a mosquito net and using smoke to drive away mosquitoes and prevent malaria. Since adopting these behaviors there have been no cases of malaria in her family. She also receives information on how to prevent malaria during worship in church. In addition to what she does at home to protect herself from illness Teixeira says that "I also mobilize the neighbors, I talk to them about what they should do to avoid getting malaria and tell them if someone gets sick they should go to the hospital soon".

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