Thursday, April 25, 2013

World Malaria Day 2013

by Kristen Kerr, volunteer contributor

Even as we continue our relief efforts in West, the Midwest and around the country, we want to take a moment to recognize World Malaria Day today. Every two minutes of every day, four children on our planet die from malaria, while every one-in-three premature children born with the disease will die. In Nigeria alone, 153 million people are infected with malaria, which is 25% of the population of Africa. As Americans, it’s hard to imagine that so many people are infected and in danger of a disease that’s been all but eradicated here. That’s why it’s important for all of us to remain vigilant as we support the elimination of malaria around the world. 

Today, April 25, people from all over the world will participate in activities that mark the global development community’s progress in combating malaria and other infectious diseases.

The Red Cross Red Crescent Movement and all of its volunteers play an important part in sustaining malaria treatment, prevention, funding and gathering needed supplies.

Research shows that between 2000 and 2010, nearly 750,000 children were saved because of prevention and treatment of malaria. However, if funding for prevention programs were to decrease, all the progress made would rapidly reverse. 

The Red Cross supports pilot projects that globally supply mosquito nets to families when they receive their malaria vaccinations. Red Cross volunteers have helped to protect an estimated 25.5 million lives with these nets.  

Malaria is caused by Anopheles mosquito bites. If the mosquito is infected with malaria, their bite can cause a person to become infected, unless treated. Pregnant women, young children and the very old are especially at risk due to weaker immune systems.

Common symptoms of malaria may include: fever, chills, headache, sweats, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, dry cough and muscle pain. In rare cases, malaria can lead to brain or spinal cord damage, seizures and loss of consciousness. However, this does not have to be the case since there are preventions and treatments of malaria. 

Prevention of malaria involves protecting against mosquito bites and accepting medicine that combats and treats the disease. Prevention tools used to combat mosquito bites consist of using bed nets (mosquito nets), limiting outdoor activity between dusk and dawn, using insect repellent with DEET and wearing protective clothing. 

Partnerships between organizations are crucial because simply, they work. The Roll Back Malaria organization, along with the Red Cross, uses a door-to-door approach to talk to people about the causes of malaria and how to prevent it, stressing the importance of using mosquito nets properly. 

Continuing progress against malaria and other infectious diseases can be achieved through additional national and international will, as well as investments in communities where it is needed most. For additional information about malaria and how to help, please visit

1 comment:

  1. Hey guys, we just saw this article tweeted by someone in the USA on

    Although there is a lot of emphasis put on the prevention of malaria through measures such as nets, vaccination truly would be the ultimate win in the fight against malaria. Especially when considering the culture attitudes towards malaria, as outlined by Sonia Shah’s TED talk recently.

    Great article guys and it was awesome to see it tweeted.


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