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Reform Magazine | November 29, 2023

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A letter from… Kenya

A letter from… Kenya

Monica Achieng on living in a malaria zone

I am expecting a baby in February. It’s my third pregnancy – I have two sons, Jeff is 10 and Hilary is eight. My husband is a motorbike driver and has gone away so that he can earn a living. All of us in the family have HIV.

I get sick regularly. I always have bouts of malaria. The health facility is far away, so when I need treatment it takes me three hours to get there. I walk; it is hard. I feel tired and exhausted and it increases my sickness.

My children have also been getting malaria. They don’t sleep under mosquito nets. I only have one insecticide-treated net and there’s no way I can fit under it with them and their father. So I use the net in my bed and the children sleep without one.

We decided to prioritise me for the net, because the clinic staff said the first priority has to be a pregnant woman. I’m aware of the serious risks of getting malaria while pregnant. If I wasn’t expecting a baby I would automatically give the children the net.

The boys sleep in the small kitchen building outside the house. Before bedtime, I collect twigs and branches and light a fire in the kitchen, and hope the smoke will scare away the mosquitos….

This is an extract from the February 2016 edition of Reform

Monica Achieng, 32, lives in Upper Kokumu village in Nyanza Province, western Kenya – a malaria endemic region. Christian Aid works with Anglican Development Services Nyanza to train community health workers in caring for those most vulnerable to malaria: pregnant women, under-fives and people with HIV. For Christmas 2015, Christian Aid partnered with the United Reformed Church to raise funds to improve access to healthcare for people like Monica. The Christmas appeal runs until 5 February. For more information, visit



This is an extract from the February 2016 edition of Reform.

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