Wearing blue overalls, green rubber gloves and a helmet while hauling a 22-pound canister of insecticide on her back, Emely Mwale stood inside a small hut and took aim.
“One kwacha, two kwacha, three kwacha,” she counted. The kwacha is the national currency of Zambia, and saying it aloud was her method for dosing out the chemical mist, slowly and evenly.
Mwale, 23, earns $6 a day on the front lines of Zambia’s efforts to eradicate malaria within its borders.
Infections used to be rampant here in the country’s Eastern Province. But residents such as 40-year-old Dailes Phiri — whose 10 children used to contract it routinely, sometimes pushing them to the brink of death — said the spraying has dramatically improved the situation.
“I can’t remember the last time one of the kids got malaria,” she said in the Chewa language through a translator. “Maybe it was five years ago.”
On a continent that has been ravaged by the mosquito-borne disease — and that has been losing ground recently despite expansive internationally funded efforts — the Eastern Province of Zambia stands out for its success.