Today is #World Malaria Day and it got me thinking about a close friend of mine who contracted malaria whilst overseas a few years ago. He didn’t feel ill until he’d returned to the UK and thankfully, with the help of the NHS, he received treatment and recovered. It wasn’t a wholly smooth ride though. The hospital had run out of the drug he needed, there was a delay whilst it was sent from another hospital. It was scary.
Take a moment to imagine if that had been in a country where access to healthcare wasn’t so good. Where the right drug was unavailable, or unaffordable. Where the nearest hospital or clinic was a three-day drive away over bumpy, dusty roads.
Millions of people live with this scenario in countries all over the developing world. On our story gathering trips to healthcare settings in places like Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda to name but a few, we have heard many stories of people embarking on incredible journeys to get to a rural clinic. We have met many who have received the treatment they need and happily recovered. We have sadly heard the stories of those who haven’t.
World Malaria Day aims to raise global awareness of malaria as a curable and preventable disease. Isn’t it mad that in the 21st century there are still hundreds of thousands of people dying from a disease which can be easily prevented and treated?
This year’s theme ‘Zero malaria starts with me.’ seeks to ‘encourage and empower individuals across the world to make a personal commitment to saving lives.’
Did you know?
- Every two minutes, a child dies of malaria
- Each year more than 200 million new cases of the disease are reported
- There were an estimated 435,000 deaths from malaria in 2017
- In 2017, 50% of the population at risk of malaria in Africa slept under a treated mosquito net
Source: World Health Organisation (WHO)
World Malaria Day Campaigns
The charity Malaria No More has high profile celebrities staring in a couple of short films with the campaign message; Malaria Must Die- So millions can live. We see David Beckham asking us to ‘Speak up. Sign the voice petition to end malaria.’ The voice petition is the first of its kind and is very easy to use. A clever use of technology, I’m sure it won’t be the last.
They also have a host of stars such as Helen Mirren, James Corden and Andy Murray featuring in a funny short film #MalariaMustDie where they are all swatting at the annoying mosquito in the room, with the hard hitting message, “For many of us, they are just annoying but a mosquito bite takes a child’s life every 2 minutes.”
So, don’t just sit there and let today pass you by. Share #MalariaMustDie, sign the voice petition, share this blog, make the ‘personal commitment to saving lives’ that’s being asked of you. Think of all those who aren’t as lucky as my friend, who don’t have ready access to healthcare or sometimes even a mosquito net.
If you have a story to share and need some help, contact us.