One mother’s horrific ordeal compels her to fight for a malaria-free world
When Kelechi's son Jeremy suffered cerebral malaria, he was never the same again. She's sharing her story to raise awareness about just how dangerous malaria can be to children.
As a mother, Kelechi knows first hand how unfair malaria is towards children.
Her main priority has always been the safety and wellbeing of her little boy, Jeremy. He was a happy toddler, hitting every milestone just as he was expected to. In fact, for his age he was progressing quickly, and he had started to walk at just 10-months-old.
But as Kelechi was preparing to enroll her healthy son in school at 18-months-old, Jeremy suddenly fell ill. She immediately recognised the symptoms as malaria, a disease all too common in her region of Nigeria. Unfortunately, the severity of Jeremy’s case quickly became clear.
Jeremy was convulsing in hospital for four hours and then spent seven days in a coma as Kelechi waited anxiously by his side. When he eventually woke up, it was like she was meeting a completely different child. Her once active son had become one who lost all of his motor skills and coordination -- he couldn’t even hold his neck up.
The emotional and financial strain took its toll on Kelechi.
"My child has not been the same again. He lost all motor skills, he couldn’t even hold his neck and after that we had to start going for physiotherapy. Mentally, financially, it was a drain on the whole family."
As a result of catching malaria, Jeremy was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. To this day he continues to re-learn his cognitive and motor skills.
Kelechi was driven to get involved in the Draw The Line campaign so more people know just how dangerous malaria can be, particularly for children.
“It will be a better world, a better Africa, where you can have your children growing up without the fear of the menace that malaria brings. It's going to be a sweet world, it’s going to be a better place if there is no malaria.”
Kelechi has hope of what Africa would be like when it is malaria-free, and what it will mean for children like her son. She sees generations growing up without fear or anxiety of a child suffering from this treatable and preventable disease.
"It will be a better world, a better Africa, where you can have your children growing up without the fear of the menace that malaria brings. It's going to be a sweet world, it’s going to be a better place if there is no malaria."