Today is World Malaria Day, a celebration that really resonates with me and I suspect also resonates with the heart of God. I still remember the horror of watching children die of malaria in the refugee camps in Cambodia in the mid 1980s. It happened so quickly. If we waited to get an accurate diagnosis they would be dead before we responded. And in Africa we lived on antimalarials and soon adapted the African physician preoperative practice of routinely treated children as though they had malaria. Complications postoperatively were much higher in infected children.The spectre of this terrible disease hung over all the communities and families we worked with.
In Africa, malaria deaths have been cut by one third within the last decade; outside of Africa, 35 out of the 53 countries, affected by malaria, have reduced cases by 50% in the same time period. In countries where access to malaria control interventions has improved most significantly, overall child mortality rates have fallen by approximately 20%. In spite of this malaria still kills 2,000 children daily worldwide, mainly in Africa and in some countries the situation is very fragile. Today–World Malaria Day–recognizes global efforts to combat malaria.
Eradicating malaria is possible. We just have to want it very much.
I am sorry that this list is a little late for us to get involved in this year, but consider how you can make a difference not just on World Malaria Day but throughout the rest of the year too. Here, from World Vision, are five things you can do to fight malaria:
Help your community understand and advocate for a simple, yet effective, malaria prevention method that can save millions of children: bed nets. Your event could be a concert, a coffee house, an art show, a sleep-out —any event to unite your community around this urgent global health crisis.
Ask Congress to increase our contribution toward the fight against malaria. Government officials respond when they hear from their constituents — constituents like you. Our easy-to-use online tool makes it simple to do!
Visit our resource center on endmalaria.org for downloadable posters and other resources that you can use to raise awareness about this threat to children. The more people know about malaria, the more likely we are to defeat it.
4. Pray with your community (PDF)
Download our prayer guide and pray with your small group, family, or by yourself. The prayer guide provides short stories about children impacted by malaria, facts about malaria, and prayer points to guide your intercession.
In sub-Saharan Africa, the use of insecticide-treated bed nets could potentially prevent 1 million child deaths. Every $6 you give will provide a long-lasting insecticide-treated bed net that will protect the life of two or more children from this deadly disease. Or make a monthly pledge to contribute to the fight against malaria.