Tomorrow, April 25, has earned significance because of its focus to stamp out a disease seldom focused on in North America.
According to UNICEF, 24,000 children die daily from the effects of the mosquito-borne disease. The majority are in sub-Saharan Africa.
Unlike other vast disease and nutrition-related problems, a key solution for preventing malaria is simple and cheap. For a cost of a about $10 apiece, mosquito nets can be easily installed over beds and sleeping areas to prevent children from contracting the disease.
“The newest nets have two to three years worth of insecticide built into the fabric,” explained Craig Jaggers, a health and education policy advisor for World Vision in an interview last year with Everyday Christian. “People don’t have to worry about taking them down. All they have to do is hang it up and sleep under it.
“It is incredibly effective at reducing the mortality rate and the spread of the disease.”
World Vision’s goal is to blanket entire communities with the nets and slow the spread of malaria to children and adults alike. Part of that motivation is to keep women safe from passing the disease on to their babies during pregnancy.
“Malaria really is a disease of poverty,” Jaggers said. “For many families we work with, the expense of the nets is more than they can afford even it seems inexpensive to us. . . . We also want to use advocacy to make sure the government follows through to fund its promise to provide $5 billion over five years to provide for malaria eradication and make sure these programs blanket communities.”
A Mission Network News story quotes Yahoo News saying nearly two billion dollars were spent on the prevention of malaria last year alone. There will 350 million people at risk of malaria in 2010, Yahoo also said. And Max Lange of Childcare Worldwide said every 40 seconds a child is dying of malaria.
Certainly there are no shortage of ways for compassionate Christians to reach put domestically and internationally to express their faith through giving, but in this particular case the ease of treating a potentially fatal disease deserves our attention.