When I met Ochuki a few months ago, he and his family had been living at risk. Every night they slept unprotected from the bites of malaria-carrying mosquitoes. Like many families in Kenya, Ochuki’s family did not have money to buy bed nets.
Not long before I visited Ochuki’s village, though, community volunteers began visiting his family. One of the visitors was a Community Health Worker (CHW), trained by the Kenyan government as part of its community health strategy. The other visitors were members of the Matongo Lutheran Parish, who were teaming up with the CHWs in the area to visit families and educate them about malaria.
As part of project by Lutheran World Relief and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya (ELCK), the Matongo Parish formed a 40-member team, made up of CHWs and parish volunteers, to incorporate malaria education into the monthly visits to all the households in the area.
As part of the visits, the volunteer teams note whether families have bed nets and if they are being used properly. When the team visiting Ochuki’s home realized they did not have enough nets for everyone to sleep safely, they registered Ochuki’s family to receive two bed nets from the Lutheran Malaria Initiative. I met Ochuki when he came with his family to collect the nets.
Ochuki’s family continues to be visited the volunteers from the Matongo Parish. They are making sure the family is using the nets consistently and correctly. As time goes by, the volunteers will continue to emphasize the importance of malaria prevention and assist the family if anyone shows symptoms of the disease.