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Wednesday, 2 October, 2002, 18:00 GMT 19:00 UK
'Malaria is very frightening'
Victor Mwanyamba and his mother Pauline
Baby Victor Mwanyamba is recovering from malaria
BBC Health Correspondent Chris Hogg met two families blighted by Malaria in the Kilifi region of Eastern Kenya.


Mahenzo Ngala looks just like any other little girl as she helps her mother with the daily chores.

But the nine-year-old was left brain-damaged after a severe bout of malaria when she was two and a half.

Mahenzo Ngala was left brain-damaged by malaria
Mahenzo Ngala was left brain-damaged by malaria
Her mother Mukumbi said it was very frightening.

Fevers are common, so when Mahenzo first fell sick she was not that concerned.

"But when it reaches the point where your child convulses it is very scary," she says.

"She slept for two and a half days. I thought it was a coma.

"After that, she developed problems with her speech, but it was only very much later we realised something had gone very wrong."

When Mahenzo first came home from the hospital she could barely talk.


One minute the child is OK, the next minute he's ill

Pauline Mwanyamba
But now, her mother says she is getting better. She can go to fetch firewood or carry out simple errands.

Mahenzo needs to go to a special school to build on those improvements, but the family does not have the money to fund her education.

Three hour walk

Pauline Mwanyamba has already lost one child to malaria.

Her second son Victor is 21 months old, and suffering from malaria and anaemia.

She had to walk more than three hours to get to Kilifi District Hospital where he could be treated.

Victor Mwanyamba had malaria and anaemia
Victor Mwanyamba had malaria and anaemia
Victor fell ill four days earlier. He has a headache, fever and abdominal pains.

The doctor says that when he was admitted he was very ill. The parasite count in his blood was almost 30%.

But he has responded to treatment and has not needed a blood transfusion.

Pauline says she was very scared when Victor first fell sick.

"People in my area are very worried about malaria because they know high fever most likely causes convulsions in children.

"One minute the child is OK, the next minute he's ill.

"I lost another child who was just one year and seven months old. Malaria is very frightening"


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