malaria awareness day

April 25th, the first US Malaria Awareness Day. An award winning photographer, Chien-Chi Chang, traveled to Uganda to give image to the story that is very often never heard, to give a face to the people who are never seen. This is not just another award winning privileged person traveling to get pictures or a story because these images and story are accompanied by a call for action. The images were used to raise awareness and promote involvement with Malaria No More. This is an organization that is fueled by celebrity involvement and received great attention from American Idol, but this is an issue and conflict that does not require you to be a celebrity to make a difference. Everyone is a celebrity in their own right.

On the <a href="http://newsforums.bbc.co.uk/nol/thread.jspa?threadID=6178&&edition=2&ttl=20070426013440
“>BBC’s news forum where people can write in their thoughts, many people called for a change in government actions and in people’s actions. Governments need to provide more funding for their health sectors and people need to depend less on their governments. I would add that we here need to understand that governments are not the ones who will make the greatest impact, when individuals support other individuals more lives will be saved.

In her blog, Acumen Fund Fellow, Keely Stevenson, writes about a socially responsible company in Tanzania working to provide bed nets. AtoZ uses a simplified, cheaper manufactoring process to make more bed nets for less. The company then charges a nominal fee to get the bed nets to people who will actually use them. Many times when organizations just hand out bed nets they end up as fishing nets or table cloths, but when there is a small fee – people who actually want them to use them will be supplied with them. This has been credited with bringing malaria deaths down in Tanzania.

Malaria is a preventable disease that claims the lives of over <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6591169.stm
“>one million people, 90% of them in Africa. Using a bed net is said to reduce a pregnant woman’s birth complications and potential miscarriages by one third. A treated bed net costs about $4 and can save the lives of so many people is it is used. There have been numerous studies on the impact of malaria on mothers, children, and others – but the simple and known truth is that using a treated bed net can save your life and your family’s. There is no reason that malaria should kill so many people each year, our government should be stepping up its efforts, governments in Africa need support so that they can support their health sectors, and we here need to step up our efforts. Making bed nets more available and more affordable is the answer to a preventable disease without a cure.

Read up on malaria here.

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