In the past, if health care workers visitedeight-year-old Keung’svillage, people would not listen. The villagers relied on traditional health care methods based on ancient religious practices –asking for help from the spirits instead of taking medicine or going to a health centre.
When Keung, 9, grade 1,in Mounlapamok District became sick earlier this year, his family gave the traditional offerings - pork and rice – to the temple, a way to ask for forgiveness for whatever his family had done wrong.
“My son has to drop out school because of his sickness, he have to absent school almost 3 months and it is effected to his study, he lose the chance to take final examination,” says Keung’s mother named Ten.
But Keung could not be healed. In his village there is a lot of stagnant water, a common breeding ground for mosquitos. Some of theses mosquitos carry malaria.
World Vision has visited Keung’s village many times to conduct health awareness campaigns on hygiene and sanitation, and they have also provided vaccinations to many of the villagers. The health awareness campaigns taught villagers about keeping their water supply separate from everything else, including keeping their animals in enclosed areas and going to the hospital when they are sick.
World Vision also created awareness about fundsavailable to families facing serious health emergencies. Despite these campaigns, many people still did not go to nearest health centre when they were sick, opting to use traditional practices instead.
But Keung was not getting better - he slept endlessly, lost a lot of weight, was never hungry and grew pale. For two months, he suffered. Finally, Keung’s uncle - who had been to a World Vision health training session - decided to call World Vision staff and see if there was anything they could do.
A village health worker recommended he be transferred to the nearest hospital, a two hour journey away.World Vision helped the family utilize the emergency health care fund as they did not have enough money to pay for the transportation to the hospital or for his parents’ accommodation and food.
Once at the district hospital, the doctors quickly became alarmed. They transferred Keung to a bigger health care centre, because they weren’t able to deal with his situation. Once at the hospital, the health team ran tests where they discovered that Keung hadmalaria.
After a few days in the provincial hospital, Keung got better and the doctor allowed him to go back to his village.
“I very sad that I could not go for the final examination as my friends because of my sickness with malaria, and this year I have to continue to study in the old grade while my friends study in the same as my level were in grade2 now,” Keung,9, share with sad face.
“My future dream, I want to be a Solder because of I wants to wear the uniform and protecting our nation,” says Keung,9.
Since then, there’s been a change in Keung’s village. After witnessing the improvement to Keung’s health, and seeing World Vision’s intervention, village families have started to regularly go to the health centre when they need to. Community members are responding to World Vision’s health campaigns and taking preventative measures to ensure child health through good cooking practices, better family sanitation, keeping a clean home and taking their children to the hospital when they are sick.
“I want to thank you to village health worker and World Vision who help and safe my son from his sickness and hope you will continue the activity in my villages in the future,” says Keung’s mother.