PHOTO STORY – Do you know that tomorrow is World Sleep Day ? On this occasion, discover our beautiful photo picturing Enoch, a little boy sleeping tight under his insecticide-treated mosquito net. The story behind the photo…
A model house for the neighbors
I’m walking through the Filtisaf district of Kalemie with Justine Kyezo, a volunteer with the Democratic Republic of Congo Red Cross. Justine takes me to visit her house, which serves as a model for the neighbors in the district. In one of the rooms, I see a child sleeping under a mosquito net. It’s Enoch, Justine’s son, taking a nap after school. He’s still wearing his uniform. There’s very little light. I decided to make as little noise as possible to take his picture.
Mosquito net to prevent malaria in DRC
While developing the photo, I decided to completely change the white balance to make an “American Night” – I’m never sure what the result will be (it’s a very artificial effect), but I think it worked pretty well in this case.
I wanted to highlight the importance of the mosquito net as a way of preventing malaria in children. Sleeping under a net is one of the essential family practices promoted by UNICEF and its partners in the DRC.
Many families in Kalemie (and throughout the DRC) don’t use them because they consider the cost to be too high compared to their means. An insecticide-treated mosquito net costs around 2,500 Francs and lasts for five years…Yet families face even higher medical costs in order to cure malaria (hospitalization, treatment, etc.).
I’m convinced that we can persuade these families to use the nets through local awareness efforts like those undertaken by the community-based players with whom UNICEF works.
One of the essential family practices
Sleeping under a mosquito net is one of the essential family practices that UNICEF aims to get people to start doing through its communication projects for development; it’s the only way to prevent malaria, which was the cause of around 584,000 deaths in 2013, most of them African children, according to the WHO.
Activities to promote essential family practices are being carried out by many players. After being trained, each of these players distributes promotional messages regarding essential family practices to families.
Along the same lines and in order to facilitate the adoption of these essential family practices and prevent malaria, UNICEF is organizing the distribution of mosquito nets. For example, in 2012, UNICEF distributed 14 million treated nets in the four provinces of the DRC, protecting more than 28.9 million people, 5.4 million of whom were under the age of five.
Translated from French by Gail Somers.
Photo : UNICEF DRC 2014 Benoît Almeras
Benoit Almeras est volontaire des Nations Unies – il occupe les fonctions de chargé de communication pour la zone Est de la RDC pour le PNUD. En plus de sa passion pour la photographie et la musique congolaise, il aime raconter les histoires des personnes qu’il rencontre. Un crédo : « Si les voyages forment la jeunesse alors je veux rester jeune toute ma vie ! »
Benoit Almeras is a United Nations volunteer- he is responsible for communication for the UN development programme in the eastern zone of the Democratic Republic of Congo. As well as his passion for photography and Congolese music, he likes to tell the stories of the people he meets. His mantra is: "If travelling shapes youth then I want to stay forever young!"
Latest posts by Benoit Almeras (see all)
- Mosquito net : the best vaccine against malaria - 17 March 2017
- A simple gesture - 29 December 2016
- Best Practices Guidelines No.5: Enrolling children door after door - 16 November 2015
- Best Practices Guidelines No. 4: Health begins at home - 9 November 2015
- Best Practices Guidelines No.3: From sanitation to development - 3 November 2015