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Deblasio The tiny and forgotten killer…and how we can stop it. Worldwide a silent killer is causing illness that claims more than 650,000 lives each year, the vast majority are children in sub-Saharan Africa. The killer?
Retrieved: http://www.topnews.in/health/diseases/malaria Yes, this inch long mosquito infects the red blood cells of 216 million people a year with malaria. Symptoms for malaria include fever and headache and if untreated can result in coma or death. Symptoms can appear in 7 days and sometimes, the time between exposure and signs of illness may be as long as 8 to 10 months. Warmer climates keep mosquitos around, which is why they are so prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa. A simple net or insect repellent can keep help keep them at bay, but poorer countries do not have the luxury of even that. The World Health Organization says one-third of the global population lives in malaria-endemic countries. Which only furthers the interest in fighting this endemic. This disease while not curable yet can be prevented and if caught a patient can receive medications, but like a lot of other illnesses in these parts of the world, it cannot be
stopped because the countries worry about barley having enough water and food to feed their populations let alone provide medical help to its citizens. More than 90 percent of the deaths were in India, Burma, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.
Retrieved: http://www.bu.edu/themovement/2010/10/14/the-new-drug-war-againstmalaria/ Malaria and this tiny killer aren’t a threat to a lot of the Western world, so it is often forgotten and left for poorer countries to deal with. Did you know that a World Malaria Day exists? It is today (April 25th) but most I would assume are unaware of its existence. The theme for World Malaria Day 2012 – Sustain Gains, Save Lives: Invest in Malaria – marks a decisive juncture in the history of malaria control. Whether the malaria map will keep shrinking, as it has in the past decade, or be reclaimed by the malaria parasites, depends, to a great extent, on the resources that will be invested in control efforts over the next years. In Africa, malaria deaths have been cut by one-third within the last decade; outside of Africa, 35 out of the 53 countries, affected by malaria, have reduced cases by 50% in the same time period. In countries where access to malaria control interventions has improved most significantly, overall child mortality rates have fallen by approximately 20%. This fight is different from any other in my opinion. It can be fought the statistics show that. We as a global society need to continue flowing to national malaria control programs to ensure widespread population access to life-saving and cost-effective interventions. That takes the knowledge that this problem exists and the knowledge that a box of nets and insect repellent can be a possible solution for a village in these countries. Subscribe to the Malaria No More YouTube channels for some compelling stories. Video: Malaria No More
Nothing But Nets is a global, grassroots campaign to raise awareness and funding to fight malaria, a leading cause of death among children in Africa. I participated in raising money for this organization as a freshman sorority member at Northern Kentucky University. Of all the philanthropic endeavors I have participated in, in my time at NKU (which has been a lot as a sorority member) this fundraiser sticks in my mind. I truly believe that my time and hard work went to helping a global cause, where my small contribution made a HUGE difference. We had a silent auction along with chances for students and faculty alike to make a basket for a free Skyline Chili coupon. We raised thousands of dollars while having fun spreading the word about” Nothing but Nets.” The message we were sending was clear, help us send a net and save a life. While the UN Foundation has been working with the UN to fight malaria for years, it was Rick Reilly’s column about malaria in Sports Illustrated challenging each of his readers to donate at least $10 to send anti-malaria bed nets that led to the creation of the Nothing But Nets campaign in 2006. In five years, the Nothing But Nets campaign has engaged hundreds of thousands of individuals to help achieve the UN goal of ending malaria deaths by 2015. The great thing about this campaign is that is has such a diverse array of people helping it reached its goal. From sorority girls to the NBA to The Boy Scouts of America the donations of these individuals come together to raise $10 contributions that goes towards the cost of purchasing a long-lasting, insecticide-treated bed net, the means to distribute it, and the necessary means of educating communities on its use. Video: Nothing but Nets Bed nets work by creating a protective barrier against deadly malaria carrying mosquitoes that bite at night. A family of four can sleep under an insecticide-treated bed net, safe from malaria, for three years. The benefits of bed nets extend even further than protecting those sleeping underneath them. The insecticide woven into each net makes entire communities safer – killing and repelling mosquitoes so that they can’t go on to bite others who may not be protected by a net. Bed nets can reduce malaria transmissions by 90 percent in areas with high coverage rates. Although $10 for a bed net may not sound like much, the cost makes them out of reach for most people at risk of malaria, many of whom survive on less than $1 a day. According to the 2011 World Malaria Report, 96% of people with access to a bed net use it. Nets are a simple, life-saving solution, but we need your help to provide them to those in need. With the thousands we raised we were able to send over 200 nets to those in need. This gave us a sense of accomplishment, knowing 200 people would sleep safer. You can have that same feeling by donating here.
Retrieved: http://www.famegame.com/projects/1051395 Malaria No More, a non-profit organization devoted to raising public awareness of the disease, brought a group of 20 scientists to Capitol Hill to discuss their cutting-edge malaria research on World Malaria day on April 25th, 2012. Using computer-assisted molecular modeling, scientists have been looking for new vaccine candidates and identifying drugs to field-test. Brian Grimberg, a professor of international health at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, said scientists from his lab are studying a newly discovered compound that kills the malaria parasite in lab-infected mice. Other research highlighted at the Washington gathering included the use of genetic engineering to prevent mosquitoes from becoming infected with the parasite in the first place, so they can’t spread it to humans. Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, are using genetically modified bacterial viruses, known as phages, to produce a protein in the mosquitoes’ gut which blocks infection by the malaria parasite. These researchers did warn us that these are having their own problems and kinks to work out. We don’t know for sure if these truly can prevent or rid people of the disease, but I think the fact that this research is out there and being presented and celebrated is a huge milestone for this day. To date, we have spent roughly $2 billion a year on malaria control, a disease that has existed for 4700 years. The emerging drug-resistant malaria cases suggest that the current prevention measures and treatment are not enough to combat the disease. Clearly academia and pharmaceutical companies need to collaborate and develop (or as noted above need to continue to develop) new treatments with long-term effects. The looming threat of drug-resistant malaria spreading further necessitates the exploration of other drugs and implementation of vaccines to combat the deadly disease now.
I think that this World Malaria was a hugely successful start in the prevention of this disease. The disease recently has been in the news and more and more people are joining in and understanding the significance of putting both donations and research into prevention. This is a huge start and I can only hope that the recognition and day of awareness keeps growing.
When asked to describe malaria in one word, a nurse at Karawa General Hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) had this to say: “Killer.” The hospital administrator said that 80 percent of the local population carries the disease. We may not see this disease on a daily basis in the Western World, but that does not mean we should forget it exists.
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