Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Getting MAD at Malaria

To you and me, mosquitoes may be nothing more than irritating pests; but to millions of people around the world, the bite of a mosquito can mean serious illness or even death. Most susceptible to the malaria spread through the bite of these mosquitoes are small children and pregnant women, although others are vulnerable as well.

Zambia, where Children International operates one of its 18 agencies, has some sobering statistics: one out of every five children under the age of five in this developing country will likely die because of malaria.[1] In fact, the problem is so severe that malaria is the leading cause of death in Zambia.[2]

April 25 is Malaria Awareness Day in the United States…and “MAD” is a fitting acronym for this portion of the worldwide effort to conquer malaria. Leading organizations such as the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are only a few of the many entities that are pouring their energy into fighting this ruthless killer.

Malaria is a problem of gigantic proportions. We at Children International realize that the chances of eradicating malaria on our own are pretty slim; however, we also know that every little bit of help counts. Although our primary focus in Zambia is on our core benefits (things like medical and dental care, nutritional support and educational assistance), we also partner with other organizations whenever possible to help protect our sponsored children from malaria. We have been involved in joint efforts to provide mosquito nets to sponsored children, and we are actively engaged in educating the children and their families on ways to help avoid becoming infected.

The difference sponsorship makes is really evident when our sponsored children do contract malaria – and this is not unusual, because around 96% of the population of Zambia is at risk.[3] The free medical care our sponsored children enjoy can literally mean the difference between life and death.

To learn more about malaria and what is being done to fight it, please click here. We hope you will join our efforts and those of the other organizations who are working hard to help families in Zambia and around the world beat the odds of malaria.

[1] Roll Back Malaria 2005 World Malaria Report
[3] Ibid

Mosquito photo courtesy of Photo of child by Clementina Chapusha, Children International's communications coordinator in Lusaka, Zambia.


Don said...

Wow, I just happened to look at children Intl website and saw the blog. Didn't realize all of this was up here! Glad I found it and will have to visit more frequently now. Great job you all are doing. Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

Didn't know many folks saw American Idol on Monday night, but they did a special night of fundraising to help with combating malaria and hunger in Africa. They also are allocating funds to assist with America's children living in poverty.

Together we all can make significant differences in the lives of those less fortunate. Thank goodness for Children International and the sponsorship and fundraising programs that they have offered for over 50 years!