When Mr. Sangoma Ndibi contracted malaria, he was so sick that his local health center admitted him for an entire week. His near-death experience with malaria led to an incredibly inspiring commitment to ensure that other members of his community do not suffer from the same preventable disease he did.
This February, the Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative hosted Mr. Sangoma Ndibi at its 4th Annual Roundtable in Livingstone, Zambia. Here, he had the opportunity to share his story with a group of more than 40 malaria partners from Zambia, Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia, and the U.S.
Mr. Sangoma, who lives in Zambezi, Zambia, told the audience he came from a family that believed all illness comes from bad spirits. Therefore, when Mr. Sangoma came down with malaria in 2010, his family believed he was bewitched, and invited witchdoctors into their home to treat him. Mr. Sangoma continued to grow sicker as the witchdoctors treated him with a variety of medicines and concoctions.
A community health worker soon discovered Mr. Sangoma and brought him to a heath center against his family’s wishes. By the time he made it to the health center he was extremely sick. Fortunately, he was able to recover after a week of treatment.
Shortly after his experience with malaria, the Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative was seeking volunteers in Zambezi to conduct malaria education and sensitization within the community. Mr. Sangoma was the first to volunteer, since he understood first hand the importance of informing community members about malaria prevention and treatment.
Volunteers like Mr. Sangoma are critical to the global fight to eliminate malaria. By spreading knowledge and awareness about malaria with his community, Mr. Sangoma is preventing unnecessary sickness and death.
The Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative was honored to host Mr. Sangoma at this year’s Roundtable, and continues to be inspired by his message.