More than 1,800 children under 5 die each day from malaria. That’s approximately 1 child every 45 seconds.
Half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria: There are 106 malaria-endemic countries with 3.3 billion people at risk. Malaria infects approximately 250 million people each year.
Malaria has been estimated to cost Africa more than U.S. $12 billion every year in lost economic productivity, and can cost households as much as 32 percent of their entire monthly income.
Today is World Malaria Day. And that, to me, is a big deal.
When I was in Uganda on medical mission, my heart was torn apart by some of the people we treated. As I wrote in a previous blog post, “They talk about malaria like it’s the common cold.” I saw so many adults and children, even babies, who were suffering from their first, second, fifth bout of malaria. To them, malaria has become something that just happens. It’s become normal. People die from it every single day, and yet it’s viewed by many as just a normal occurrence.
Insecticide-treated bed nets could prevent as many as 1 million deaths from all causes of malaria for children under 5.
What really breaks my heart is that most of the people affected by this disease are completely helpless to fight it. When I was in Africa, I took my malaria medicine religiously and used my mosquito net every night, but my African friends don’t have those things. They just have to hope that they won’t get malaria, and if they do happen to get it, they just have to try to survive while it runs its course.
We were able to give out malaria medicine to many of the people that we treated, and I hope to be able to give out more next time I go to visit them. It’s not much, but at least it’s something. The small amount of medicine that we’re able to share with them isn’t a permanent solution, but it’s enough for a little while–and more importantly, it shows them that we care.
So today especially, but also whenever you think about it, please pray for the people all over the world for whom malaria is a daily concern. And thank God that here in the USA, we don’t have to worry about it for ourselves.