Saturday, April 18, 2009


Malaria is a disease caused by the blood parasite Plasmodium, which is transmitted by mosquitoes. Malaria, from the Medieval Italian words mala aria or “bad air,” infects more than 500 million people a year and kills more than a million— one person dies about every 30 seconds.
Malaria is both a preventable and treatable disease. It can be prevented by giving families and individuals insecticide-treated bed nets to sleep under and taking steps to kill mosquitoes where they breed and when they enter houses to feed at night. At the same time, anti-malarial drugs such as artemisinin and other combination therapies that are widely available can treat malaria before it becomes deadly.
Malaria has been brought under control and even eliminated in many parts of Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Yet in Africa, with increasing drug resistance and struggling health systems, malaria infections have actually increased during the last three decades.
Despite the magnitude of the problem, there is a simple and cost-effective solution to prevent malaria deaths. For just $10, we can purchase a bed net, deliver it to a family, and explain its use. Bed nets work by creating a protective barrier against mosquitoes at night, when the vast majority of transmissions occur. A family of four can sleep under an insecticide-treated bed net, safe from malaria, for up to four years. The benefits of bed nets extend even further than the family. When enough nets are used, the insecticide used to deter mosquitoes makes entire communities safer—including even those individuals who do not have nets.
Saving lives ten dollars at a time. Please help.

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