Sunday, June 25, 2017

Malaria is a major killer

| Article posted on November - 15 - 2006

“A mother frantically says her son’s name, again and again, in the half-empty acute-care room in a provincial hospital … Her young boy is unconscious with malaria and lies on a bed pushed up against a wall, its paint faded and peeling. When her son does not respond, she begins to softly pat his face with an open hand, desperately hoping to wake him up.” (www.irinnews.org Feb 2006)

Malaria is one of the major killers of our time. It kills 3,000 children every day and more than a million people each year. It finds most of its victims in Sub-Saharan Africa, amongst children under the age of five and pregnant women, because of their immature and weakened immune systems, respectively.

The rainy season, which lasts from June to October, strikes new fear into the hearts of the Gambian people every year. Drenched fields and flooded roads act as perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes. In fact, many villagers suffer hundreds of bites from infected mosquitoes every season.

According to the Swiss Tropical Institute, “By the time you’re five years old, you’ve been exposed to so much malaria and you’ve had so many malaria attacks that you’ve either developed life-protecting immunity or you haven’t made it.”

Malaria is described not only as a disease of poverty but also as a major cause of poverty. On one hand, poverty is the primary prohibitive force preventing timely prophylaxis and treatment. On the other hand, people remain ensnared in poverty due to the significant long-term neurological and other health consequences, which all too often result from non-fatal malaria, coupled with the loss of productivity and schooling from severe, repetitive illness. Malaria can truly hold an entire country hostage.

Funding for malaria prevention and treatment continues to be a problem. It is estimated that approximately $3 billion a year are needed to fight the disease. This is a frightening statement. So, what are we to do? How can we give hope to the mother in the paragraph above and thousands upon thousands like her?

“Now is the accepted time, not tomorrow, not some more convenient season.
It is today that our best work can be done and not some future day or future year.
It is today that we fit ourselves for the greater usefulness of tomorrow.
Today is the seed time, now are the hours of work, and tomorrow comes the harvest and the playtime.”

(DuBois)

Good idea! Let’s join together and get to work, shall we?

Dr. Ingrid Feder Sidibeh, President & CEO / Excecutive Board of Directors
Ingrid Feder Sidibeh, MD

President

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