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Friday, August 20, 2010
Friday 20 August 2010, World Mosquito Day, a day to reflect on the cause of malaria across the World. According to Malaria No More UK, 250 Million people are infected with malaria World Wide each year. In Africa a child dies every 45 seconds as a result of malaria.
On August 20 1897, Ronald Ross, a British Doctor discovered that the Malaria parasite is spread by the bite of a female Mosquito. Today is that day, we need to welcome this opportunity to focus on saving lives of those that are most at threat from malaria.
As a global community we need to come together, to help safe lives and improve conditions for children and communities within developing countries, particularly those in Sub-Saharan Africa. According to The Department for International Develoment (DFID) nearly a million people died of malaria in 2006, the latest statistics indicate that a child in Africa dies every 45 seconds.
As part of acheiving theMillenium Development Goals (MDGs), the distribution of insecticide treated nets is vital in tackling and eradicating malaria in Africa. Nets supplied by Malaria No More UK to communities in West Africa cost just £5.00 each to buy and deliver to those most vunerable. Recently over 1 Million Mosquito nets were delivered to Northern parts of Ghana by Malaria No More UK. According to The World Health Organisation's Malaria Report for 2009 there were an estimated 3.2 million cases of Malaria in 2008 and only 40 per cent of the population were delivered insecticide treated nets.
Whilst volunteering with Platform2 in the Brong Ahafo region of Ghana, West Africa, I contracted malaria and witnessed first hand the affects of this preventable disease. Many children suffer from this disease at a young and vunerable age, causing their education to suffer. Children in the small village of Kasapin, Brong Ahafo, around 2 hours from the border of Cote de Voire, are among those most vunerable to contracting malaria.
As part of the MDGs The United Nations have a target of getting every child under a mosquito protecting bed net by the end of this year, 2010. After speaking with the local community about this goal, the reaction of a local Elder drew my attention to the real challenge of eradicating this disease. "No health people, government, no they have not come. They do not drive through, I have no information on malaria, no net," exclaims Nana Apphiagyei of Kasapin village.
Georgina, 3 and a half years, suffering from Malaria
The local Clinic's Out Patient Department (OPD) was over run with patients, most suffering with Malaria symptoms, with a long wait for treatment ahead of them. My host sister Georgina was one example of the affects of malaria which was close to home. She was ill for weeks missing out on her education for over a month, this example is echoed by millions of children across Africa; children under five account for 90 per cent of deaths from malaria in Africa.
We need to get behind the Millenium Development Goals and act for ourselves. We as a global society can prevent and eradicate this disease for good, even by raising awareness through Facebook and Twitter. Hope is on the horizon with the distribution of nets in Mozambique, DFID state that progress is already being seen, with 37 per cent of households having at least one bed net and coloured mosquito nets being seen waving in the winds of street corners and market days.
With a online networked community we can tackle malaria.
Follow Ray Chambers as Special Envoy for Malaria on Twitter
Follow Malaria No More UK on Twitter
UN Millenium Development Goals on Facebook
World Malaria Report 2009
Millenium Development Goals Report 2010
Read more on World Mosquito Day: Marlaria No More UK website
National Geographic article on World Mosquito Day