Deborah Arroz was working as a farmer on the island of Palawan in the Philippines. One morning she woke with a fever. Over three days she suffered chills and convulsions, and was afraid she might die.
“I walked five kilometres to my old village for treatment,” she says.
In Mangingisda a clinic tests patients with symptoms of malaria. A worker took a sample of Deborah’s blood, diagnosed her with malaria and gave her anti-malarial drugs.
Prevention and cure
In the 1990s more than a fifth of Filipinos were at risk of contracting the disease. On Palawan alone, more than 50,000 people were thought to be infected. Many people shared misconceptions about how malaria is spread. “We thought the infection was caused by eating pineapple on an empty stomach or drinking coconut juice,” says Deborah.
To help educate people and treat the disease, in 1999 the Pilipinas Shell Foundation launched the Kilusan Ligtas Malaria (Movement Against Malaria) social investment programme.