Story shared by Mrs. Chek Channy, village malaria worker, Cambodia

My name is Chek Channy. I am 51 years old and works as a rubber tapper. I live in Sahakreas village, Chamkar Andong commune, Chamkar Ler district, Kampong Cham province, with five children. In my family, my father had malaria once in 1982, when I was little. It was severe malaria. Fortunately, he was sent to a health center for treatment on time. I don’t want to see other people getting sick from malaria like my father. That’s why I decided to become Village Malaria Worker (VMW) in 2014 when the Health Center (HC) staff come to the village for recruiting volunteers. Besides working as VMW, I also work as a PSI volunteer for reproductive health want my village free from malaria. I also want to give health education session about basic malaria transmission and prevention knowledge in my community to ensure no one dies from malaria anymore.

I spend 2 to 3 hours a day for volunteer work. The workload of volunteer is manageable for me, but you know, I have to walk a lot because I do not have a bicycle or motorcycle. I have to travel 10 km to reach HC for the meeting. In a rainy reason, it is very difficult to go to the Health Center. It would be good to have a bicycle. So that, it will be less tiring for me, and I can visit far for my patient. Another challenge is that some people are not interested in malaria when I share with them information about malaria prevention and treatment. Some people won’t even come to the health education session. So, it discourages me a bit too. However, I am happy that every month, about 10- 15 people come to me to get a blood test. It means they know about malaria and where to get treatment. I would say the most challenging part about my work is when a patient is not cooperating with me. I know that they have a fever, headache, and other symptoms indicating that they might have malaria, but they do not want to take blood tests. It is hard to convince people to take blood tests. And also, I have to take care of my two grandsons because their parents go to work in Thailand. Sometimes, it is difficult for me to work as a volunteer because no one takes care of them. Sometimes I bring them to work with me, sometimes I leave them under the care of the neighbors if I travel far. I do not know much about using smartphone, but other VMWs support me. What I want is that I want my village and country free from malaria by 2025. I would be very happy if we can get malaria elimination by then. To support us, I would like to request a bicycle. And also, it would be good to get more financial incentives for being a VMW.