In the time it takes to read my speech on your radio station, a child will die of a preventable disease called malaria.
Malaria is caused by a microscopic parasite that lives in the stomach and saliva of certain mosquitoes. After an infected mosquito bites someone, the tiny parasites can enter the person’s bloodstream. Within two weeks the person gets sick, with symptoms that resemble a cold at first but can lead to death.
Today, my niece would have celebrated her 30th birthday if she had not died of malaria in Niger. My sister-in-law lost her baby because of malaria. Malaria is a leading killer of children under 5 in Africa. In fact, an African child dies from malaria every 30 seconds.
Malaria kills more than 1 million people every year and each year between 350 million and 500 million people are infected with malaria.
Yet these deaths are preventable, and malaria is treatable!
Malaria is preventable. The easiest and cheapest way to prevent malaria infection is through the use of long-lasting insecticide treated bed-nets (LLINs) which can last up to five years. Bed nets create a protective barrier against mosquitoes. They prevent mosquitoes from biting at night, when the risk is highest.
The nets prevent mosquitoes from biting, and also kill mosquitoes that land on the nets. Let us not forget that a bed net can cover more than one person and can last up to five years. For 10$, we can provide a bed net and the training to go with it.
Malaria costs Africa at least $12 billion in lost annual GDP. Therefore, if we prevent malaria infection, this money can be used to promote education and school meals in primary schools.
Malaria can be prevented and treated through a comprehensive approach that involves long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets, eliminating mosquito breeding areas, selective indoor residual spraying, medicines for treatment, and education. This similar approach had been used by the U.S.A and Panama and it worked. Both countries have eradicated malaria from their land!
Malaria is a resilient foe that continues to kill our children and adults in Africa.
By working together, we can make a difference and we can save lives. Governments, individuals, and different funders of malaria operations in Africa must continue to work closely in order to fight malaria and to eradicate malaria. If we all stay united against malaria, we will win the fight!
Let us not forget that 40% of health resources are used to treat malaria and malaria costs Africa $12 billion annually. Almost 2000 people die in Africa daily from malaria and children under 5 account for 85% of malaria deaths.
Every 45 seconds, a child dies of malaria! It is not acceptable! For just 10$, you and I can provide a life-saving mosquito net to a child at risk, protecting that child from contracting malaria for up to five years. Remember! Malaria is preventable and treatable.