Today is World Malaria Day. According to scholars, reducing the impact of malaria is key to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, agreed by every United Nations Member State. These goals include not only combating the disease itself, but also goals related to women’s and children’s rights and health, access to education and the reduction of extreme poverty. As members of a women’s community, we are charged to address issues that impact women throughout the world. Malaria can be prevented through several measures and the results are astounding. According to Roll Back Malaria:
- It is incredible to learn that since 2009, approximately 289 million nets were acquired or distributed throughout sub-Saharan Africa, enough to cover 76% of the population at risk.
- Malaria can also be prevented by Indoor Residual Spraying or spraying the interior walls of homes with insecticides. Globally, more than 168 million people were protected against mosquitoes by IRS in 2009, 73 million of them in 27 African countries, a dramatic growth from 59 million people in 2008.
- Because pregnant women are the main adult risk group for malaria, preventive treatment is a critical way to help eliminate it. In 2009, the median percentage of women attending antenatal care who received a second dose of intermittent preventive treatment was 55% in 2009, up from 20% in 2007-2008.
- An additional preventive treatment called ACT (Artemisinin-Based Combination Treatments) is on the rise. In 2010, 229 million ACTs were procured, up from 158 million ACTs in 2009. ACTs, which combine the drug artemisinin with other antimalarial drugs, are currently the most effective treatment available for malaria
Today, I urge you to take a few minutes and browse through the websites in this blog or do your own research on malaria. As we reflect, let us recognize the importance of world health and its magnified impact on women throughout the world.
Photo from: World Vision