As a student, I travelled to Tanga, Tanzania to do community development work and research for 3 months. Before I left for Tanzania, I received every vaccination that was required, received the most expensive and top-of-the-line antimalarial pills and bought a treated mosquito net.
I lived in a house with indoor plumbing with a group of British expatriates and worked in a rural village. I bought bottled water from the market everyday, I used this bottled water to brush my teeth, clean my fruit and for hydration. I wore long pants and long sleeve shirts, even though some days the temperature reached well over 120 degrees Fahrenheit. I wore insect repellent. I did everything “right.”
Then it happened. My house flooded one morning and I broke out in a rash. I went to the local hospital where I volunteered teaching English and received tests. About a half hour later, I found out that I had Malaria. I was confused, I had done everything right…now…I had Malaria.
For me, malaria was a sickness, treatable and curable. For so many others, malaria takes their life. Today is important because it is World Malaria Day. World Malaria Day works to bring attention to this treatable, yet deadly disease.
…a time for examining the progress we have made towards malaria control and elimination and to renew efforts towards achieving the target of zero malaria deaths by 2015.
We have come a long way towards realising this goal since the first World Malaria Day four years ago, when it was estimated that a child died every 30 seconds of malaria. The huge increase in support for malaria control interventions in recent years means we can now acknowledge a reduction in the death rate; where once over a million people died of the disease annually, the figure is now closer to 790,000. This is progress and it shows that what we are doing is working. However we can’t afford to ease back until this number is zero, and this year everyone in the malaria community is discussing the remaining obstacles we face in the fight against malaria. (http://www.worldmalariaday.org/home_en.cfm)
The Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations recognizes the importance of international work to reduce deaths due to malaria and works with International Health and Development, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and ecumenical and UN partners on working to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goal of eradicating deaths to malaria worldwide by 2015.
Like so many other issues that challenge our world, we pray for the future. We pray that malaria deaths will be eliminated and the other Millennium Development Goals will be achieved by 2015. Let’s work together so that others may survive as I have.