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A New Threat

Story by Nothing But Nets April 1st, 2015

It is difficult to imagine being sound asleep, with your husband beside you and children safely in a room next door, when suddenly your community comes under attack and you have to flee with your family and few possessions. This is what happened to Aline Wimana.

In 2013, Aline lived with her husband and her three children in a peaceful village in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. One night, rebels attacked the community and started looting the village, creating death and destruction. She and her family fled and three days later, they passed the border into Uganda.

We want to ensure every refugee is protected from malaria, so they can rebuild, be healthy, and thrive.

At Nakivale Refugee Settlement, Aline’s family has found a new village called Isangano, with more than 2,000 households. Made up of 36 villages across 76 square miles, Nakivale is now home to more than 74,000 refugees and asylum-seekers. There are eleven different nationalities here – but close to half have fled violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Children at Nakivale Refugee Settlement pose for the camera

While Aline and her family are safe from violence, they still face one consistent threat – malaria. Last year, there were more than 63,000 cases of malaria at Nakivale – that’s an astounding number for a population of 74,000. Here, malaria is the number one cause of illness and death among children under five.

“I’m very scared from malaria,” she says. “This is why I always use the nets. When we go to sleep my children are so tired that it is not difficult having them sleeping under nets.”

Aline’s family received bednets eight months ago. Thankfully, she notices her family has fallen ill far fewer times now that they sleep under nets. It is estimated that approximately 45% of households still do not have access to a bednet. After all these families have been through, the last thing they should have to worry about is their child dying from a mosquito bite. Malaria keeps children home from school and their parents home from their jobs.

A nurse at Nakivale Health Clinic takes a patient’s information and symptoms. They suspect malaria.
Doctors at the Nakivale Health Clinic are testing many patients for malaria. There were more than 63,000 cases last year

“When I get sick, I cannot work in the field and all my family suffers,” she says.

Aline dreams that her children will all receive a good education and one day, hopefully, they can return home.

After all these families have been through, the last thing they should have to worry about is malaria.

Nothing But Nets has pledged to protect millions of refugee families like those at Nakivale Refugee Settlement by raising funds for one million bednets by the end of 2016. You can help us save lives. Learn more and take the pledge.

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Aline Wimana and her family proudly sleep under their bednets every night.
Footnote: Photo credits: Corentin Fohlen/Nothing But Nets
Nakivale, Katete Road, Mbarara, Western Region, Uganda
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