Today is World Malaria Day. Malaria, a disease caused by a parasite transmitted by mosquitoes, disproportionately kills pregnant women and children. In fact, malaria is the leading killer of children in Africa. Globally, malaria continues to kill more young children than any other single disease, claiming the life of a child every 45 seconds. Pregnant women have decreased immunity which means they are more susceptible to contracting malaria. If a pregnant woman is infected with malaria, her risk of having a miscarriage, stillbirth or a premature or low-birth weight baby all increase.
Malaria is preventable. Using insecticides or sleeping under long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets greatly reduces the risk of being infected with malaria. There are also preventive treatments that can be given to pregnant women and infants to prevent complications from malaria. Malaria is also treatable with a variety of anti-malarial drugs available. All of this means that the almost 800,000 deaths annually from malaria are needless. Globally malaria deaths dropped by over 20% between 2000-2009-that means we know what works and need to invest in continued prevention and treatment.
In honor of World Malaria Day, consider donating an insecticide-treated bed net which could save the life of a mother or child. Nothing But Nets makes the process quick and easy. If you’re in NYC you can check out their video playing on the giant screen in Times Square today, or you can see it on their website and become a champion in the fight against malaria yourself.
And for more information on malaria and what’s being done to fight it, check out some great pieces on the Huffington Post today: