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A simple test to save lives

Innocent Mulonda Mulonda is a community health volunteer, or malaria control agent, in the Lui River area of Zambia.

When he isn't working to protect his community from malaria, he farms maize to feed his family, sells sunflowers to pay for his children's school fees and is hopeful of increasing his fish drying business sometime soon.

So what motivates him to find the time to volunteer?

For a dedicated person like Innocent, it's a simple case of serving others. The commitment he shows to the well-being of his community is clear; he cares deeply for the people of Lui River. 

From selling sunflowers to serving the community

In his role as a health volunteer, Innocent substitutes simple farming tools for the potentially life-saving rapid diagnostic kit.

By carrying out a straightforward blood test, Innocent can tell with certainty whether someone has malaria.

Innocent, with fellow malaria control agent Mwangal, carries out a rapid diagnostic test

Innocent, with fellow volunteer Mwangal, carries out a rapid diagnostic test. Photo taken by Kelezo Nganga, also a malaria control agent. 

He says: 'If a sick person comes to us with the signs and symptoms of malaria, we do a rapid diagnostic [test]. If the result is positive and they have malaria, we always refer her or him to the clinic.

'We are trying to encourage the people to take their children or themselves to the clinic when they feel sick.' 

Watch: Innocent Mulonda Mulonda explains why rapid diagnostic tests are so important >  

Rapid diagnosis, rapid response

Alongside continued education about malaria and the distribution of mosquito nets, rapid diagnostic testing is proving a success. 

Previously, cases of malaria went undetected but now, thanks to the testing, cases are being diagnosed much earlier, allowing medication to be prescribed much sooner.

Innocent says: 'The community now knows the dangers and signs of malaria so they have appreciated the programme. They ask us to visit people who are sick and do rapid diagnostic testing.

'I am happy for the support you (Christian Aid supporters) have given us. Thank you very much, may God bless you all.'

Join us each month as we share more inspiring stories from these incredible communities.


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