Create change on World Malaria Day
April 25, 2014
Find a clock and watch the second hand make its way around. By the time it reaches its starting point, a child somewhere in the world will have died because of malaria.
Sponsored child Andele in Tanzania receives a
mosquito net through the Unbound Birthday Fund.
Malaria is a common and sometimes fatal disease mostly found in tropical countries. People are infected by the bites of mosquitoes carrying malaria parasites. The disease infects millions of people and kills an estimated 660,000 people, mostly children in Africa, each year according to UNICEF.
World Malaria Day is commemorated April 25. The day focuses attention on efforts to combat the disease in countries around the world.
Many in the Unbound community in Africa struggle with the challenges of malaria. The disease strikes mainly children, and especially those who live in lower-income communities — a large majority of the communities where Unbound works.
"Most sponsored friends and their families live in highly populated areas where houses are so close to each other and the sewage systems are poor, which creates a habitat for mosquitoes," said an Unbound staffer in Tanzania.
The costs of prevention and medical treatment are difficult for families living on the margins to afford. Thankfully, those sponsored through Unbound know they can rely on sponsorship benefits and Unbound training workshops to aid in the fight against malaria.
At the Unbound offices in Kenya and Tanzania, families can request the purchase of mosquito nets through their sponsorship benefits or as their gift through the Unbound Christmas and birthday funds. Families can also budget for building materials to build or repair their homes to help further prevent the spread of malaria.
Pendo and Ashuni, sponsored children in Tanzania, use a mosquito net
to protect against malaria. Sponsorship benefits can
nets and other anti-malaria measures for families.
The Ugandan government distributes up to five free mosquito nets per household at local health centers, but the Unbound office still facilitates requests for nets when a family is in need.
Unbound advises families living in these areas to take preventive measures such as sleeping under mosquito nets, clearing any bushes in their surroundings and ensuring their diet is nutritious, so their bodies are strong enough to fight infection. Families can also use sponsorship benefits for medicine to treat malaria when needed.
Bridget, a sponsored youth in Uganda, makes malaria education a priority. She is going to school to get her nursing degree. To raise extra funds for her education, she works at a local health center giving out malaria nets and teaching malaria prevention.
Regina Mburu, Unbound communications liaison in Kenya, stressed the importance of raising awareness about malaria.
"While malaria is quite prevalent in Kenya, the government and non-governmental organizations have carried out spirited campaigns to create awareness among the people," Mburu said. "The campaigns have worked, and the number of people dying from malaria has gone down remarkably."
These efforts have further broadened the reach of the campaign against malaria.
"We hope that in the near future, we will have a malaria-free continent," Mburu said.
This World Malaria Day, take a minute to make a difference by sponsoring a child through Unbound.