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Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Keep Those Mossie's Away

In West Africa, over 3,000 children die of malaria every day; 1 out of every 5 childhood deaths is due to malaria. Malaria kills a child every 30 seconds in West Africa and the disease can cause anemia and jaundice and, if not promptly treated, can cause coma, kidney failure, or death.  To make matters worse, the West African rainy season that begins in June will cause flooding that will aggravate the problem, since standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes that carry the disease – according to Robert Agyarko, UN Children’s Fund Specialist on Malaria for West Africa. In Freetown, Sierra Leone, it is estimated that between 60% and 70% of mosquitoes are malaria carriers.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that malaria can be controlled, and even prevented, using anti-malarial drugs, insect repellent, or mosquito nets in sleeping areas. UN Special Envoy for Malaria, Ray Chambers, reports, “Mosquito nets are still the most effective tool for preventing malaria in West Africa.”  Mosquito nets are infused with Permethrin, a long-lasting insecticide that acts as a barrier to prevent mosquitoes from penetrating the nets. It drives away the mosquitoes and kills the ones that land. Unfortunately, only 40% of households in Sierra Leone have an insecticide-treated mosquito net (ITN).  St. Mary’s Church in Olveston, Bristol, United Kingdom, is taking a stand against this deadly killer. They have donated £5,000 to Mercy Ships for the distribution of mosquito nets at the HOPE Center in Freetown.
This land-based facility houses patients who are awaiting surgery and those recovering from surgery onboard the hospital ship, the Africa Mercy.
When the patients are discharged from the HOPE Center, they will each be given a mosquito net and told how to use it properly. They will also receive additional information on how to prevent malaria. This promising strategy will make a difference in fighting this deadly disease.

Stat's taken from WHO 2003 Africa Malaria Report & WHO 2010 Africa Malaria Report

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