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2006.12.27
Mariame Diabagate is making soap, which she sells to people throughout the Dar es Salaam neighborhood of Bouake, Cote d'Ivoire. Along with her husband's modest salary as a soldier, the money from the soap barely covers their monthly expenses. Mariame is 18 years old and pregnant with her second child. She just contracted malaria because she did not have a mosquito net. At a nearby health clinic, UNICEF is working to prevent children and pregnant women like Mariame from getting malaria, which kills a child every 30 seconds. With the help of funding from the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid Office, and UNICEF, the clinic provides integrated services, including vaccinations, antenatal care, child delivery and mosquito nets. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) UNICEF Communication Officer Alexandra Westerbeek: "Mosquito nets make a huge difference in the lives of people. It protects them from diseases like malaria already in an area where people are very poor, like in a war-torn country like Cote d'Ivoire, where people have hardly any money. If they become sick with malaria, they need to buy medication, especially when they're pregnant or for their young children. And if it's recurrent malaria, they'll get it over and over again, and it will be too expensive to sustain, so having a mosquito net is an investment, basically, in the long term." Today, Mariame gets a complete check-up, as well as a net. She is also educated about how to properly use the net. UNICEF has a warehouse stocked with the nets, which will all reach women like Mariame. SOUNDBITE (Dioula) Mariame Diabagate: "When I received the mosquito net, they explained how mosquitoes spread malaria. There are a lot of people in my family and neighborhood who have had malaria, so I'm very happy with the net. It will protect me." With at least 500 million new cases of malaria each year, getting mosquito nets into the hands of women like Mariame is a simple, affordable way to keep pregnant women and their children alive and healthy. This is Thomas Nybo reporting for UNICEF in Bouake, Cote d'Ivoire. Unite for children.
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