Health care closeby helps children in Burundi survive malaria

By Javan Niyakire, World Vision Burundi Communications Officer

In his nursing uniform, white gloves on his hands, Diomede Ndayisenga checks the table;15 minutes are enough for him to diagnose his patients and determine whether they have malaria or not. Diomede is a volunteer community health worker. He treats malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea at his home in Gitaramuka Commune, in the province of Karusi, in Northeast Burundi. He did not go to a nursing school but has been trained and equipped by World vision.

“I am happy my child is diagnosed and treated close to home,” says Consolatte.

“I am happy my child is diagnosed and treated close to home,” says Consolatte, after her child, Divin, was diagnosed with malaria and given drugs.

The night before her visit to Diomede, Consolatte felt the heat rising in her son's body. She didn’t know what her son was suffering from so very early in the morning Consolatte took her son to see Diomede. Many mothers have lost their beloved children because of malaria in recent days.

“Even during the night, when it happens that my child gets sick, I can’t wait a minute, I run to see him,” she says.

Health workers in are scarce in this area. Diomede and his colleagues help keep people out of congested public health centers. Since World vision began to implement the Integrated Community Case Management (ICCM) project, waiting times for patients to public health centres have been reduced.

“After treating a child, I follow up with home visits within 48 hours to assess children’s health status,” Diomede says. “If the situation worsens, then, the child is referred to a health center,” he adds.

In Burundi, malaria is a silent killer...more than one million cases of malaria have been reported in the area where Divin lives.

In Burundi, malaria is a silent killer and the situation has worsened this year. In the area where Divin lives, more than one million cases of malaria have been reported, killing more than 500.

In Karusi province, the ICCM project works with 521 community health workers who, in the last six months, have assisted more than 90,000 children suffering from malaria, pneumonia, diarrhea and other diseases. According to World Vision records, community health workers assist an average of 70 patients every month.

The recent malaria epidemic has affected more than 4.5 million people--nearly half of the population of Burundi. 

The ICCM project is implemented in partnership with the Government of Burundi. World Vision trains and equips community health workers while the Government provides drugs. For the last six months, health centres have been overwhelmed and often experience drugs shortages. “I sometimes spend weeks with an empty store and this affects my patients,” Diomede says.

The recent malaria epidemic has affected more than 4.5 million people--nearly half of the population of Burundi. World Vision is trying to garner more resources help the Government close the shortfall in drugs and other supplies needed to stop the spread of the disease.

 Learn more about World Vision's 100,000 Community Health Workers