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Chapter 6

Background information

Malaria is one of the commonest diseases in Africa and kills a huge number of people each year. In Zambia, it is a leading causes of death. It is especially dangerous for young children, because they have not yet developed strong immune systems.

In some parts of the country it is endemic and difficult to avoid. However, it can be reduced a great deal. The best protection is treated mosquito nets. It is also essential to go to the clinic for treatment within 8 hours after feeling the first symptoms.


Children need to recognize malaria and know how dangerous it is. They should be quite certain about what gives them malaria (a bite from the anopheles mosquito) and very aware of the need to protect themselves against mosquitoes. They should know that they must get treatment as soon as possible. They should recognize measures taken against malaria and take action themselves to avoid mosquito bites.

These lessons do not mention the malaria parasite, but just say that malaria is "in the blood".


Lesson 1

establishes the symptoms of malaria, its seriousness and the importance of early treatment.


Lesson 2

demonstrates how people get malaria from mosquito bites.


Lesson 3

discusses how to avoid mosquito bites.


Background information for teachers

The symptoms of malaria are chills and fever, a high temperature and sweating. Patients feel weak and lose their appetite. They may also vomit and have a headache and sometimes diarrhoea.


Pupils should be able to:

Time: 30 minutes

Teaching/learning aids

Introduction/Activity 40

Draw a stick figure of a boy lying down and say "Chalo has malaria. How does he feel?"

Pupils say if they have had malaria and how they felt. Help them with the vocabulary they need (e.g. vomit, weak). Encourage them to tell their own stories: this will show if they are confusing malaria with other diseases, and also bring out details of local practices and beliefs.

Through this discussion, build up a description of malaria symptoms and finally sum up by listing the symptoms.


Pupils look at the text. Ask Did we talk about all these things? Pupils read each sentence and say if it has already been mentioned.

Activity 41

Ask pupils to think of particular people they know who had malaria. Could they go to school? To work? How long were they sick? Did any of them die? What did they do for treatment? Again, get some real stories. Add your own stories if possible. Bring out the point that it is important to go for treatment as soon as possible.

Ask pupils if they think malaria is a very bad disease. If they say yes, ask Why? - e.g. because it kills people, it stops them working, it stops them going to school, it is very unpleasant, it makes you weak, it is expensive.

Ask yourself

This question follows from the previous activity. Ask pupils how they will answer the question, and encourage them to choose their own personal reasons for fearing and avoiding malaria. Then let them copy and complete the box for themselves. Go round to see what they say.


Ask for a volunteer to write the Remember message on a piece of paper, display it in the classroom and read it aloud. On the opposite side write the title of the lesson. Ask the pupils to give some examples of real, known people who had malaria. Store the message or display it permanently.


Pupils discuss with their families what they think causes malaria. This is an opportunity to find out local ideas about the causes of malaria. They also ask what to do if someone has malaria.[7]


Background information for teachers

Malaria is caused by the malaria parasite, which is carried by the anopheles mosquito. The female mosquito sucks the blood of a person who has malaria. When the same mosquito bites a healthy person the parasite is transferred and the healthy person is infected. When the parasites multiply in the body they cause malaria. If the disease is treated immediately, then the sick person cannot give malaria to others.

Some people do not believe that malaria is carried by a mosquito. They think that you can get malaria when you are soaked by rains, when you are visiting a new place or when you drink water from another area.

Do not attack such ideas directly, but try to bring them into the open when causes of malaria are discussed.


Pupils should be able to:

Time: 30 minutes

Teaching and learning aids

Revision of previous lesson

Draw the same stick figure as for Lesson 1 (a boy lying down). Say: "Chalo has malaria. How does he feel?" Let the class tell you the symptoms.

Introduction/Feedback on homework

a) Ask "What should Chalo do?" Get some ideas from the homework. Insist that he should go to the clinic AT ONCE for treatment.

b) Leave the picture on the board. Ask "How did Chalo get malaria?" As pupils suggest answers, write up words or draw pictures around Chalo (e.g. rain, water, mosquitoes) to represent their answers. OR ask pupils to write/draw their ideas on the board.

c) Discuss the various ideas. Don’t condemn mistaken answers, but at the end say that doctors are quite sure that malaria is brought by a mosquito. Hold up the picture or model of the mosquito and stick it on the board next to the picture of Chalo.

d) Ask what pupils know about mosquitoes. Encourage all contributions, but bring out in particular that mosquitoes are very small, come out at night, suck blood, whine, and they breed ("have their families") in stagnant water.

Activity 42

a) Point to "Chalo" and the "mosquito" on the board. Ask How can this mosquito give us malaria? Can you show us? Encourage volunteers to come and take the "mosquito" from the board, make it bite the sick "Chalo" and then come to bite us. If pupils cannot show this, demonstrate it yourself, explaining how the mosquito carries the malaria from the sick person to the healthy one.

b) Pupils look at the pictures in the book and explain to each other what is happening (the mosquito bites Chalo and sucks his blood. It cannot bite Kalwe because of the mosquito net, but it bites Muke and gives him Chalo’s malaria). Pupils read the questions and answer them.


Tell the pupils to shut their books. Write up the text with gaps - for example:

Malaria is caused by....................................................................
Mosquitoes carry................... from................... to.........................

In pairs, pupils decide how to fill the gaps, then make suggestions. Praise all reasonable suggestions.

Pupils open their books and compare the text with their own ideas.

Ask yourself.

Imitate the sound of a mosquito and ask What do you think when you hear that sound? If you like, mime your own response (e.g. fear, irritation, preparing to kill, moving away, rolling down shirtsleeves, grabbing an insect spray). Read the question to the class and ask them to decide how they feel, then copy and complete the box. Circulate to look at the answers. Tell the class about any interesting and appropriate responses.


Ask for a volunteer to write the Remember message on a piece of paper, display it in the classroom and read it aloud. On the opposite side write the title of the lesson. The pupil asks one of the class to explain why mosquitoes mean danger. Children take the message home and read it to their families.

Game: Mosquito

Extend the lesson into a playground game. Explain the rules to the class and leave them to play the game in their own time.

Write MALARIA on nine small cards (in red if possible). On the back of the cards write MOSQUITO - DANGER. Get the children to read the words. Give three cards each to three volunteer "mosquitoes". The "mosquitoes" (whining) have to catch the other pupils and give them the MALARIA cards (like penalty cards in football). Those caught have to crawl off the field, "sick" with malaria. The game ends when all the cards are finished. The winners are the pupils who have escaped the "mosquitoes".


Lead in to the homework by asking "How can you stop mosquito bites?" Get a few answers. Then tell pupils to ask their families when they go home and come back with some more answers.


Background information for teachers

Malaria can be reduced by following the recommended prevention strategies. Some of these aim at destroying mosquitoes - for example, spraying ponds, filling in holes, slashing grass and burying things which collect stagnant water. Others aim to prevent mosquitoes biting people - for example, closing windows, putting up screens, wearing long clothes and sleeping under mosquito nets. Mosquito nets should be treated regularly with insecticide so that they also kill mosquitoes. Mending mosquito nets is also important, since old ones often have large holes.

Young children cannot do all these things, but they should be aware of things people do to fight malaria. There are also some things they can do themselves - e.g. closing windows, making sure that they sleep under their nets if they have them and checking that the nets have no holes.

Many people believe that malaria is inevitable. However, the disease has been eradicated from many parts of the world, and it is a fact that every action against malaria prevents many cases. The behaviour message is "Do something!"


Pupils should be able to:

Time: 30 minutes

Teaching/learning aids

Introduction/Feedback on homework

Pupils say what is done in their homes to prevent mosquito bites. Collect all their ideas. Get them to demonstrate physically if possible. Put the ideas on the board with pictures or a few words (e.g. nets, cutting long grass).

Activity 43

a) In pairs, pupils look at the pictures and tell each other what is happening. They match the pictures with the ideas on the board.

b) Explain that some methods kill mosquitoes and some stop them biting you. Ask them to say Kill or Stop for each method.

c) Ask who does these things in their house? E.g. My mother cuts the grass. This can be revealing - e.g. it is often only the man of the house who sleeps under a mosquito net.


The reading repeats the discussion and pictures. Pupils in pairs read it quickly, match the sentences with the pictures, and find the sentence which does NOT have a matching picture (covering our bodies).

Ask yourself

This question is about pupils’ own roles. Demonstrate asking yourself the question and answering it for yourself. For example, Well, I do a lot to stop mosquito bites. I bury rubbish, and fill holes, and I have mosquito screens on the windows etc. I always wear long trousers in the evening. But you cannot do all these things. What can you do? Think about it!

Give them time to think, then ask them to copy and complete the box personally.

N.B. They should be able to find at least one thing they can do (e.g. sleep under a sheet; sleep under a net; mend holes in a net; fill in small holes; bury tin cans; close windows; help with bigger jobs). Go round and look at the responses. Tell the class any interesting answers.


Ask for a volunteer to write the Remember message on a piece of paper, display it in the classroom and read it aloud. On the opposite side write the title of the lesson. Ask pupils to give examples of how to stop mosquito bites. Store the message so it can be used again.


Choose the homework you think is most acceptable to families, or ask pupils to choose.


Ask the pupils responsible for the previous Remember messages to come to the front of the class. Revise the whole chapter by asking them to read out their messages. Ask the class to expand and explain each message.

If time allows, small groups can prepare to present the messages: one holds up the message, one reads it aloud, the third explains it, gives examples etc.

Event track

You may wish to organize a final "event" to recycle and publicize the messages of the lessons. This can be a performance in class, or for families or other classes, or be part of an Open Day. Here are some ideas relating to this chapter.

1. If there are several opinions locally about the causes of malaria, get children to make a strip-cartoon poster as suggested below. Train TWO pupils to stand by the poster and reveal the pictures one by one. They read it aloud, pointing to the pictures.


Mr X has malaria
He cannot go to work
What gave him malaria?

(Illustration of malaria sufferer)

Did he get soaked in the rain?
Is that how he got malaria?

(Illustration of local idea - e.g. person soaked by rains)

Did he drink the water in a new place?
Is that how he got malaria?

(Illustration of another local idea - e.g.
person drinking water and looking around him)


Did he......?
Is that how he got malaria?

(any other local ideas)

No, it was this!

(Illustration of a mosquito)

It was Madam Mosquito. She gave him malaria.

2. Madam Mosquito

Do a mini-drama based on Lesson 2, using four children. Three are lying down, the second one under a mosquito net. A fourth child (a girl) is dressed as the mosquito with paper wings and very long fingers. (You can use two bottles of red-coloured water to represent the blood, one with some stones or grit in it to represent the malaria. However, you can also manage without these.)

Here is a possible script:



(tossing and turning): I’m sick! I have malaria! I have fever!



(sniffing) I smell Chalo. He’s a nice little boy. He’s delicious!! I can eat tonight. (She approaches Chalo, whining). I’m biting him! I’m sucking his blood. (She takes a bottle of red water from his clothes and shakes it. Little black things are visible)



Madam Mosquito, you have sucked my blood. It’s full of malaria! Don’t give it to my friends Kalwe and Muke. They will get malaria too!



But I’m still hungry. I need more to eat. Where is Kalwe? (Whining, she approaches the child under the mosquito net.)



(under the net) I can hear you, Madam Mosquito, I can hear you. You are carrying malaria. But you cannot come in. I am safe. (The mosquito hits the net but cannot get in.)



(frustrated) I am still hungry. I need more to eat. (Whining, she moves across to Muke, who is asleep). Here is Muke. He is a nice little boy. I will take his blood and give him the malaria. (She exchanges the bottle for another bottle of red water from Muke’s clothes. Whining, she flies away).



Muke, Muke, Madam Mosquito has given you my malaria.



(waking up, furious) Madam Mosquito, I’ll kill you!



Muke, it’s too late! Next time, get a mosquito net! And now let’s take you to the clinic. (Kalwe and Muke go out together.)

[7] The reasons for getting treatment immediately are dealt with in more detail in Grade 4.

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