Sibanor, a typical rural village in The Gambia, has a population of more than 4,000, but no clean water that is easily accessible. Abbas, a teenager, worried about the water his community used. “This water is containing so many diseases,” he said. “It is harmful for the children who play in stagnant water. In the rainy season, most of the children get malaria because of mosquitoes.”
This was true until ChildFund provided a water filtration system that provides Sibanor clean water year-round. Throughout our program areas, we have supplied safe drinking water to more than 79 percent of the families and helped many of these families construct basic sanitary facilities to reduce the spread of communicable diseases.
Cerebral malaria, one of the most severe forms of the disease, accounts for 30 percent of deaths of children under 5 in The Gambia. Thanks to our bed net program and the medicine we have distributed, child deaths have decreased by 40 percent.
To ensure that children are properly nourished, we conduct mandatory health education programs for parents and require follow-up visits to regularly monitor their children’s growth. In addition, we have championed over 25 Early Childhood Development Centers throughout the country for infants and young children, which has influenced the successful formulation of a national ECCD policy. To date, more than 70 percent of the enrolled families have learned about nutrition from educational films and said programs.