Eleanor Weber Ballard/MSF
“I was feverish and could feel my heart pounding in my chest. I was so weak and shaky that my legs could barely support me.”
60-year-old Theresa lives in a one-room shack in Nyarugusu camp, which she shares with her son, his wife, and their two-year-old son. She invited us in to see her mosquito net, which hangs from a roof fashioned from corrugated iron and plastic sheeting.
“I`ve been living here for a year-and-a-half now. Life here is very hard – it`s hard to get enough food and water and the conditions we live in are very poor. It`s dirty, there`s dust everywhere and it`s impossible to keep anything clean. I`ve been ill a lot but one occasion was particularly bad – I had an awful headache, was feverish and I could feel my heart pounding fast in my chest. I remember being so weak and shaky that my legs could barely support me. My son helped me to go to the camp hospital and the doctor diagnosed me with malaria.
Being ill made me realise how dangerous malaria is and now I`m scared of my family getting sick, especially my grandson. I know that the disease is spread by mosquitos and so I try to protect him. Until recently, this was difficult because the mosquito net we had was torn, with big holes that the mosquitos could get through easily. But about a month ago, MSF gave us a new net and now I sleep under it every night with my grandson. I`m so pleased to have it and I hope everyone else in this camp gets one too, so that they are protected from getting sick.”
MSF has been working in Tanzania since May 2015. Currently, teams are working in Nyarugusu and Nduta camps. In Nyarugusu, MSF runs a 40-bed stabilisation unit and three malaria clinics and provides mental health support. In Nduta, MSF is the major medical provider, running a 120-bed hospital and five health posts, and providing mental health support.