10 February 2012

Malaria's Defeat, Africa's Future from: Huffington Post 1/29/12

Malaria's Defeat, Africa's Future as reported in the Huffington Post 1/29/12

(Excerpted from Camphor Mission Newsletter-Kathy/Danny Dickriede)

Africa is taking command of its future by tackling an ancient plague: malaria.  Supported by the lessons learned from the decade to "roll back malaria," which produced a 33 percent decline in malaria deaths in Africa between 2000 and 2010, 41 African presidents have now signed on to end deaths from the disease in their home countries as part of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA).

ALMA is a great illustration of President Barack Obama's pronouncement, made before the parliament in Ghana in 2009, that "Africa's future is up to Africans." The world's support is indispensable, but Africa is getting the job done through mutual accountability, innovation, and collaborative problem solving.

 We must commit ourselves to ensuring that foreign aid dollars are well spent. That's why African nations have agreed to publish their progress (and setbacks) in the fight against malaria via the ALMA Scorecard for Accountability and Action (updated quarterly at ALMA2015.org).

If you care about the health of mothers and children, you must care about malaria.
Malaria is one of the top three killers of children under the age of five in Africa, claiming a young life every minute. It is a nightmare for parents: in the morning, your child can be laughing and playing, seemingly healthy. By nightfall, she can be fevered and comatose, fighting for her life.

In this age of modern medical advances, it is simply unacceptable for a child to die from a mosquito bite, but help is on the way. In clinical trials, a new malaria vaccine protected over half the children who received it. If, as expected, the vaccine is licensed for use in a few years, it won't replace the need for bed nets, but it will mean that more mothers will be spared the horror of watching their child die from a preventable disease.

If you care about education, you must care about malaria.

Malaria alone accounts for 50 percent of preventable absenteeism in African schools, causing up to 10 million missed days each year. Severe cases in childhood can inflict permanent neurological damage, and babies born to pregnant women who contract malaria are at risk of low birth weight and lasting learning disabilities. Simply put, we cannot train Africa's next generation effectively if we do not protect them from malaria.

If you care about peace -- and the prosperity of every woman, child and community -- you must care about malaria.

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