World Malaria Day

Is today, April 25th. Here’s last year’s entry.

Against Malaria
and Africa Fighting Malaria are two great organizations that are fighting this scourge in different but complementary ways.

Against Malaria provides insecticide-treated bednets to folks in regions of the world where Malaria is prevalent, such as parts of Africa and Southeast Asia. Malaria-carrying mosquitoes tend to be active in the evening and early morning, so these nets are critical to preventing new infections. One hundred percent of donations go towards bednets, so if you donate $5, that’s one bednet provided to a person who is at risk of contracting Malaria. Donate here. After you’ve donated or just to show your support for the cause, participate in “project blackout” on facebook. The goal is to get one million people to set their profile pics to black today to demonstrate the one million lives (and more) lost each year to Malaria, a preventable and completely curable disease.

Africa Fighting Malaria is a non-profit health advocacy organization that researches the effectiveness of malarial control measures in Africa and encourages private organizations and public health agencies to use effective, low-cost methods for controlling Malaria, such as the insecticide DDT. DDT-based sprays, which if sprayed in houses at perfectly safe levels at regular intervals, is very effective at controlling malarial mosquitoes. This method, called indoor residual spraying (IRS) is recommended by thee World Health Organization for controlling Malaria. As part of its World Malaria Day campaign, AFM is issuing a Call to Action to encourage IRS funding and implementation in all malarial areas and has created a map showing where IRS is occurring and who is supporting it. Malaria was a problem here in the southern US until well into the twentieth century. Insecticidal spraying helped eliminate Malaria from this country and it should be part of the strategy in other parts of the globe as well. Donate to AFM here and join their facebook campaign as well.

Btw, I do not receive any compensation from either of these groups, but I have friends who work at AFM and have become friends with the folks at Against Malaria. Eliminating Malaria is something that I feel strongly about because it kills so many each year and we already have the tools to eradicate this disease. Unlike many other of the worst diseases around, we already have the cure for Malaria. Over a million lives, many of them children under 5, would be saved each year if Malaria were eradicated. It’s a preventable tragedy.

4 Responses to “World Malaria Day”  

  1. 1 Dave Donelson

    Great strides have been made in many places in the fight against malaria, a disease that kills a million people, most of them children, every year. That’s what World Malaria Day is all about. It draws attention to the many successful ways the war against malaria is being waged, mainly through the distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets and other relatively low-tech preventive measures. Unfortunately, children in the Democratic Republic of Congo remain highly vulnerable.

    According to the World Health Organization, less than 1% of DRC children under five years of age sleep under protective nets. This results in most of them suffering six to ten malaria-related fever incidents per year. The disease also accounts for 45% of childhood mortality, which overall runs to 20%. In short, malaria kills nearly one in ten children in the Congo every year.

    In Heart of Diamonds, my novel of the Congo, I explore how continuous armed conflict in the country is responsible for many of these deaths. Medical supplies can’t be distributed when roads, railroads, and airstrips have been destroyed. Treatment can’t be delivered by medical personnel who have been chased from their clinics and hospitals. People driven from their homes, plagued by malnutrition, inadequate shelter, and lack of sanitary facilities are weak and less capable of warding off disease. War creates a breeding ground for death by malaria just as surely as swamps full of stagnant water breed anopheles mosquitoes.

    Although the intensity of conflict has decreased since the truce of 2003 and democratic elections of 2006, millions of displaced persons still struggle to survive and hot spots remain in the eastern and western provinces. Collapsed infrastructure has severely weakened the health system in the DRC, and the strengthening process is a slow one.

    The DRC, unfortunately, has little to celebrate this World Malaria Day.

  2. 2 shaun

    Thanks for the heads up Tom. You convinced caulfieldkid (me) and an office mate to make a donation.

  3. 3 tom

    Good work Shaun and company!

    Thanks for the comments Dave; there are many factors preventing folks from getting the preventative measures needed. The DRC has had the misfortune of being wracked by violence for decades. Thanks for your comment.

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