Friday, April 24, 2009

Good news for World Malaria Day

Did you know tomorrow is World Malaria Day? I only know it from listening to the BBC's Africa Today podcast which has been doing lots of lead-up stories on malaria and where things stand today.

There are some amazingly good stories, actually. One I heard yesterday is that Zambia has reduced the rate of malaria deaths 66 percent since the year 2000, exceeding the goal of 50 percent that had been set. The interviewer asked the representative from Roll Back Malaria how they accomplished this. She said it was a combination of factors, including money from foreign donors, such as the Gates Foundation, and the commitment on the part of the Zambian government. (To the right, there, you can see where the country of Zambia is located.)

One of the things I learned about malaria during my brief trip to Uganda was that it couldn't be solved just with treated nets. I came back rather disenchanted with agencies such as Nothing But Nets because "they weren't going to solve the problem." But that was short-sighted of me. The truth is they aren't going to solve the problem alone. They're one part of the puzzle, which includes insecticides, medicines, education and prevention. And the truth is I as an individual really can't do much about malaria in Africa, but the good news is it's not entirely up to me. Zambia seems to be doing pretty well without my help at all. I think it's good for me to realize that my help, though welcome, is only a small part of the whole.

Here's Roll Back Malaria's Action Page, including other organizations that are making a big impact on eradicating malaria.

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