Agness was only 18 months old when her family escaped from violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They reached the safety of a refugee camp in Uganda only to face a new but just as deadly threat.

Forced to leave most of their belongings behind, Agness now sleeps without her mosquito net. It’s not long before she shows the symptoms of malaria: fever, nausea and extreme lethargy.

A test at the local health centre confirms the diagnosis and Agness is rushed to hospital, where she is treated with intravenous rehydration serum and quinine. Her eyes roll with relief as the fluid takes effect.

“Every time I come to the health centre, the malaria test is positive. Every time."

“It’s not the first time that Agness has had malaria,” says her mother Janette. “Every time I come to the health centre, the malaria test is positive. Every time. The other children also have malaria, even myself. We have no mosquito nets at home.”

As World Malaria Day on 25 April highlighted, the need for prevention measures like mosquito nets, as well community education about the dangers of malaria, remains high.

World Malaria Day 2018: Fleeing bullets, and then mosquitoes

Without mosquito nets to protect them, refugees in sub-Saharan Africa are at high risk of contracting malaria.  ©UNHCR/Francesca Salvi

World Malaria Day 2018: Fleeing bullets, and then mosquitoes

Thanks to your support, UNHCR delivered over 590,000 mosquito nets to protect refugee families from malaria in 2017. © Australia for UNHCR

There are over 200 million cases of malaria each year, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. Refugees and displaced people are particularly vulnerable to the disease. Movement to an unfamiliar area and being unable to afford mosquito nets dramatically increase the likelihood of contracting the disease.

Dorothée has been a community health worker since 2008. She visits refugee camps in southwest Uganda and emphasises the importance of bed nets.

“I tell people to buy mosquito nets to prevent malaria, but they don’t have money. There are not enough mosquito nets. Where we helped people to hang mosquito nets, there is a lot less malaria.”

And, she adds, far fewer deaths.

You can make a difference in the fight against this deadly disease. Your support will help provide refugees like Agness with mosquito nets to protect them from malaria.

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