Malaria – Bite Back #MalariaStatistics #Statistics #Health
Writtwn by Win Noren
Today, Thursday April 25, is World Malaria Day. The statistics surrounding malaria are a bit overwhelming, and for those of us who live in the United States it is a problem that doesn’t impact us personally unless we travel to a malaria risk area. So it is easy not to be even aware of the problem this disease causes to millions around the world.
- Caused by mosquitos, half of the world’s population, 3.3 billion people, are at risk of malaria
- A child dies of malaria every 30 seconds!
- 90% of malaria cases occurr in sub-Sahara Africa
- Malaria costs Africa more than $12 billion in lost GDP every year
How can I make sense of those numbers? And why isn’t this something that makes our news?
Well, I don’t really have answers to those questions, but I do know that there are simple ways that we can help “bite back” at this terrible disease that are easy and cost so little that I will hardly notice an impact in my life but those who benefit will feel a huge impact. There are dozens of organizations who are working to combat malaria including the World Health Organization and a number of NGOs operating in Africa (where malaria is the most endemic) but also in other at-risk areas.
One of the most cost effective interventions is education. When caregivers understand what is the cause of malaria they can “bite back” by removing standing water from around their homes, plant trees that are natural mosquito deterrents and be sure that everyone sleeps under a treated mosquito net.
A long-lasting treated bed net is a cruical piece in helping families combat malaria. According to Chris Helfrich, director of the United Nations Foundation’s Nothing But Nets, “Bed nets are still one of the simplest, most cost-effective tools in the fight against malaria.”
Using these methods, an NGO operating in Haiti, Compassion International, saw a reduction in malaria infections so that only one case of malaria was reported among their beneficiaries in the last fiscal year (2011-2012). This is remarkable, especially when seen in contrast to the fact that malaria is the third-leading cause of death in children under 5 in Haiti.
According to Compassion International, two mosquito bed nets can be provided for only $20 which is as easy as watching a DVD at home rather than going out with my husband to see a movie this weekend.