Living in Arizona in the summers, mosquitoes are a nuisance. My husband and I cover ourselves and our toddler in bug spray to play outside in the early evenings. At worst, we have itchy welts for a few days and apply some anti-itch cream for good measure. We’re lucky in this regard. Throughout parts of sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, mosquito bites are more than just annoying. In those areas, female Anopheles mosquitoes carry malaria, a deadly disease.
A mother leader demonstrating a malaria-prevention teaching tool.
Each year, the World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes World Malaria Day on April 25. But what is this disease? And how can you and I help? Below are 5 important facts with ways that YOU can help end it for good!
1. Malaria is transmitted through mosquito bites.
But, the disease is actually caused by a parasite carried by the mosquito. These parasites grow in the liver and then move to the entire body’s red blood cells. Symptoms include fever, chills, headache, fatigue, nausea and vomiting. Without treatment, it can quickly progress to severe illness and death.
2. Some groups are at risk more than others.
In areas with high malaria rates, young children under age 5 and pregnant women are most vulnerable to contracting the disease and having severe, life-threatening symptoms.
3. The economic consequences are dire.
Malaria does mean loss of life, first and foremost. But one of the hidden consequences of the disease are the economic costs. One study estimates that in Africa, malaria has cost up to $12 billion in economic productivity, investment, tourism and trade. In some sub-Saharan countries, 40% of the public health budget is spent on malaria. When this disease is prevented, tremendous economic power is added back to countries.
4. FH is helping to end malaria deaths.
With help from supporters like you, Food for the Hungry (FH) served 1.1 million individuals with a malaria prevention or treatment program in 2016. FH works with local communities in high-risk areas to provide mosquito nets and education on how to use them properly.
5. You can join us.
For just $14, you can help in the fight against malaria around the world. In our gift catalog, you can give a mosquito net to a family in need. With just a few clicks of your mouse and a small cost, you can change an entire family’s future!