Lucrecia Vinza’s most frightening life experience was getting malaria while pregnant. Doctors told her she couldn’t receive treatment until after delivering her baby. She shared with Nothing But Nets that the night before giving birth, she developed a high fever and chills and was rushed to the hospital. Her daughter was born with and treated for malaria, while she developed severe anemia, requiring multiple blood transfusions to get back on her feet.
Fortunately, Lucrecia and her daughter made a full recovery. Unfortunately, Lucrecia’s story is all too common for women in malaria-endemic countries. Lucrecia is a tri-lingual teacher at the Kapawi elementary public school. Her experience has motivated her to fight to end malaria in her community.
“I try to help to eliminate malaria. I decided to fight for my kids, and the kids at the school where I teach, to not get malaria. When kids are sick, I worry about them and their families.
As a teacher, I can see kids who are sick. Sometimes I have take them to get tested myself. If they have malaria, I send a note home explaining what is needed for treatment.
All the teachers know what it feels like to have malaria, so we adapt our approach as they come back to school little by little. If kids aren’t sick, they can learn and be happy at school.”
In malaria-endemic areas, as many as 1 in 10 maternal deaths are caused by malaria in pregnancy. Freeing women and school-age girls from the burden of caring for family members when they fall sick with malaria increases their likelihood of completing school, entering and remaining in the workforce, and participating in public decision-making.
Join Lucrecia in helping to build a malaria-free world and give in honor of a mom in your life in May.
Click here to take a trip to the frontlines of malaria elimination in Ecuador and learn more about these communities at risk.