CAF America Connections Blog

10 Ways to Help #DefeatMalaria on World Malaria Day

April 21, 2014

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Posted by Kaitlin Tufts on April 21, 2014.

malaria_slide

Spring! Warm weather, sunshine, flowers, and… mosquitoes. In many parts of the United States, these annoying creatures come sooner than people would like. Fortunately, they’re usually no more than a nuisance. But what do they mean for people in other parts of the world?

Imagine a mosquito. It bites you. You get a bump, it itches, and a few days later it’s gone. That’s it, the end.

Except when it’s not. In many countries, that bite can mean so much more. It can mean malaria- illness, oppressive medical expenses, and death.

However, did you know that malaria is preventable and curable

HOW can you help?

Prevention
Ensure those at risk have the protection of long-lasting insecticidal nets.Decreasing the prevalence of malaria, and eventually eradicating it completely, requires a global commitment to all three of the major steps. There are a number of organizations that are already involved, making it easy for anyone to contribute.

1. Purchase nets for heads & bedsAll public donations to Against Malaria Foundation go to the purchase of these nets, and one net costs only $3 (just a little more than a cup of coffee!).

2. ‘Compete to Beat Malaria’: Whether you run, swim, or play basketball, you can help raise critical funds and save lives by creating a sports challenge through Nothing But Nets. Every $10 you raise will help purchase and distribute life-saving bed nets with UN partners.

3. Join ‘Team Bzzzkill’: Is there something you can do to spread awareness of malaria in Africa and send nets for families? Do you have an activity or skill that you are passionate about, like crafts, baking, or theater? How can you engage your friends and family to raise nets? Whatever challenge you decide to take, Nothing but Nets has an amazing toolkit to help you get started, no matter your age or fundraising experience!

4. Eat ice cream: Canadian ice cream company, Chapman’s, is donating all proceeds from sales of its “RMR Blueberry Pie Ice Cream” to Plan Canada’s Spread the Net Initiative.

Education
Help us move toward a malaria-free future through awareness! World Malaria Day is on April 25th.

5. Show support through social media: a.) Participate in Roll Back Malaria’s social media campaign by tweeting your #DefeatMalaria message; b.) Participate in a Twitter Chat —  The U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (@PMIgov) Deputy Coordinator, Dr. Nahlen, will moderate a Twitter chat on #WorldMalariaDay (4/25) at 11am ET. Join using #WMDchat!

6. Learn what a deadly disease has to do with mobile phones: Check out the mMalaria blog series published by Malaria No More and find 10+ posts showing how innovation through technology is taking on malaria.

7. Understand the life cycle of malaria: How does a person become infected with malaria after getting bitten by a mosquito? Spread awareness using this fascinating infographic.

Treatment
Maximize the impact of today’s life-saving tools.

8. ‘The Power of One’: $1 delivers a life-saving test and treatment to a child in Africa. Consider contributing to Malaria No More’s Power of One campaign.

9. Harness the power of your phone: Sign-up for the mobile payment app Venmo  through the “Power of One” campaign, and sync-up your account with Malaria No More to harness the power of your mobile phone to save lives. To help spark this chain of viral donations, Venmo is going as far as giving their entire user base the opportunity to save a life when they cash out their balances to their bank accounts. On top of that, Venmo will give YOU $1 for your first life-saving treatment, on the house.

10. Help to fight the prevalence of fake medicine: According to Fight the Fakes, in Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa 35% of anti-malaria medicines failed chemical analysis. Poor quality and fake malaria medicines lead to drug resistance and inadequate treatment. Make it your business to ‘fight the fakes’ by learning & sharing information provided by this incredible organization.

WHO is most at risk?

The World Health Organization estimates that in 2012, malaria caused 207 million clinical episodes and 627,000 deaths. Pregnant women and children are particularly vulnerable to malaria’s effects. About 460,000 of the aforementioned deaths were children under the age of five.

WHAT are the effects of malaria?

Malaria is a disease caused by tiny parasites. Though it can be spread through blood transfusions, dirty syringes, and from mother to unborn child, mosquitoes are the most common cause of transmission. When a mosquito bites a person with malaria, the parasites infect the mosquito and are then passed on to the next person that gets bitten.

The symptoms of malaria are often similar to those of the flu. People come down with fever, chills, sweats, body aches, and nausea. Although malaria can be treated, the people most at risk often do not have ready access to health care, which means that severe illness, complications, and death are more likely to occur.

Malaria also has long-term effects. Since it disproportionately affects poorer individuals and communities, the economic burden of the illness is exacerbated. Families may strain their already limited resources in an effort to pay for treatment while also facing the burden of caring for an ill family member. This contributes to a cycle of poverty from which it is hard to escape.

WHERE is malaria an issue?

Malaria is a very real threat for the 3.4 billion people living in 106 countries who are at risk of malaria. It most commonly occurs in tropical and subtropical areas where mosquitoes are most prevalent and public health measures to control the disease have not been fully implemented. Approximately 90% of malaria deaths in 2012 occurred in sub-Saharan Africa.

WHEN will malaria be eliminated?

There is some good news. Since 2000, malaria mortality rates have decreased by about 25% thanks to a renewed effort to combat the disease.  The long-term goal is complete eradication of malaria.

In the short term, control of current cases and prevention of continued transmission are high priorities. The UN Millennium Development Goals address the issue in goal 6, aiming to halt the spread and reverse the incidence of malaria by 2015.

 

Sources
Center for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/malaria
World Health Organization:  http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/malaria/en/
Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute: http://malaria.jhsph.edu/about_malaria/
Roll Back Malaria Partnership’s Global Malaria Action Plan: http://rbm.who.int/rbmgmap.html

 

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