Friday, October 22, 2010

What If Malaria Struck Your Hometown?

Imagine a sudden outbreak of malaria in your hometown and hundreds of people fall ill. People rush to the nearest hospital to get treated, but then doctors discover that malaria parasites have developed resistance to multiple malaria medicines. Scenes of this outbreak are depicted in this video clip from GOOD Magazine’s Channel. This may seem unlikely for U.S. residents but this happens in many parts of the world, especially in Africa.

According to a 2009 World Health Organization study, roughly 3.3 billion people - half of the world's population - are at risk of malaria. People living in the poorest countries are the most vulnerable. Malaria is a serious concern in Africa, where an African child has on average between 1.6 and 5.4 episodes of malaria fever each year.

There is hope for people vulnerable to the disease. Organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are making progress in their fight against malaria. Between 2000 and 2006, several countries in Africa saw a 50 percent decrease in malaria thanks to a combined set of effective interventions, including insecticide-treated bed nets and indoor spraying of homes with insecticides to control mosquitoes, and drug treatments to prevent and cure malaria.

- Clare O.

SOURCE: World Health Organization