Being one of our WASH Implementing partner and Champions, UNICEF Malawi shared a case study on its web page regarding COVID-19 which is worthy sharing.

My name is Wongani Mulanga. I am 17 years old and from Mangochi. I would like to share with you my experience since the time I was tested positive to coronavirus. It all started when my brother got very sick with malaria-like symptoms, we went to the hospital and was tested negative for malaria and treated with antibiotics. It went on for about three days then he got better. After that, my mom and dad also started complaining about headache and body pains of which they also tested negative for malaria but eventually they became well. Days later, my mom said she wanted to be tested for corona virus with my brother since they showed symptoms. I refused to accompany them because I was okay, and that was on Friday, 26 June 2020. When they came back home, mom told me that they have both been tested positive to COVID-19 and that the other family members will be tested the following day.

The next day, the COVID-19 rapid response team came and took our samples and we were all tested positive except for our maid. From that time, we started doing everything we could to prevent her from contracting the virus. Everyone always cleaned the toilet after use, we all cleaned our plates by ourselves, I also had to shift to another room to avoid infecting her with the virus and she stopped coming to the living room since we spent most of our time there. On top of that we all wore masks in the house and we minimized going to the kitchen and other rooms since the maid spent most of her time there.

Wongani's parents
UNICEF Malawi/2020/Wongani Mulanga
Wongani’s parents at their home in Mangochi.

Our lives had not been easy but by the grace of God, we managed to fight and we have survived. We have faced a lot during this time, for example, this other day our maid was wearing a face mask while cooking, then our neighbours’ kid saw her and she rushed to her grandmother telling her that Wonganis aunt (maid) is “wearing covid”.  When the grandmother came to see, she told her the whole story and since then she became very shy to walk in public or go outside wearing a mask. A similar thing also happened to me when an ambulance came to our house the day we were to be tested.  When the ambulance arrived, I heard someone shout ‘’covid yabwera kwa Wongani’’ (Corona has come to Wongani’s house). I felt so bad because they had already started judging us just by seeing the ambulance so how would they react after finding out that we really had corona virus? After that I decided not to tell any of my friends or neighbours for fear of being discriminated even after I get well.

Days later, I got used to telling my friends lies whenever they wanted to come over or when they asked me to visit them. Sometimes I would lie that I wasn’t home, sometimes I would say that I was busy or I would come up with any lie but I never told any of them the truth. Honestly, lying to my friends felt awful and sometimes I really wished I could just tell them the truth but I couldn’t. Then it got worse after rumors that some health workers were tested positive to COVID-19. Since my mom is a nurse, I started receiving phone calls from friends but this didn’t stop me from lying, I kept telling them that it wasn’t my mom but another health worker and that they were making a mistake and most of them believed me.

We all continued following all the measures and we made sure that all our meals are balanced, and we also followed all the remedies such as drinking warm lemonade, eating ginger, garlic, avocados and all other food stuff with higher pH than corona. Most importantly, we all stayed home to avoid infecting friends and neighbors.