Friday, April 25, 2008

World Malaria Day - April 25th

April 25th is World Malaria Day. How much do you know about Malaria?

Each year, approximately 50 million women living in malaria-endemic countries throughout the world become pregnant, of whom over half live in tropical areas of Africa with intense transmission of Plasmodium falciparum. An estimated 10,000 of these women and 200,000 of their infants die as a result of malaria infection during pregnancy, and severe malarial anaemia contributes to more than half of these deaths.

According to the WHO (World Health Organization) this map shows the risk areas for Malaria transmission.

Malaria is a cause close to my heart because in October 2006, while in Niger, I contracted Dengue Fever, which is also mosquito born and similar to malaria in many ways. We were out visiting villages about a 5 hour drive from the capital city and volunteering at projects for a few days to check out the work. We did wear long pants/skirts and use mosquito repellant all day. We also slept under mosquito nets every night of our entire trip. The night that the dengue fever symptoms really hit, this is where I was sleeping

I was up all night with a fever and aches. I couldn't sleep because the muscle and bone aches were so bad that I had to shift position every 10 minutes. So i watched the moon track across the sky, making it unbelievably bright out, and listened to the cacaphony of camels, donkeys and roosters. I didnt know why I felt so awful. The next day was worse with a high fever, vomiting and lots of muscle and bone pain. I had a few more days of this in Niger, then spent a few lovely days in a Paris hospital before heading home. It is a 16day test apparently to confirm Dengue, so it was only once I was back in Canada that they truly confirmed what they had suspected in Paris as Dengue.

We took all the precautions we could, and yet it only takes one bite. We were lucky and had not only good immune systems to limit the fever and effect on my body, but we had repellant and mosquito nets.

I think of all the people there that I interacted with who have neither and yet live there among the mosquitos year round. They are the truly vulnerable.

Dengue Info:
The virus is contracted from the bite of a striped Aedes aegypti mosquito that has previously bitten an infected person. The mosquito flourishes during rainy seasons but can breed in water-filled flower pots, plastic bags, and cans year-round. One mosquito bite can inflict the disease.

Dengue starts with chills, headache, pain upon moving the eyes, and low backache. Painful aching in the legs and joints occurs during the first hours of illness. The temperature rises quickly as high as 104° F (40° C), with relative low heart rate and low blood pressure.

There is currently no vaccine available for dengue fever.

How do you make a difference?
Well, knowledge is your first step.
You can protect yourself from mosquito born infection by wearing long pants and long sleeves. For personal protection, use mosquito repellant sprays that contain DEET when visiting places where malaria or dengue is endemic. Limiting exposure to mosquitoes by avoiding standing water. Malaria mosquitos tend to be night-time biters while Dengue mosquitos are daytime biters.

One of the projects that our team does in Niger is to provide mosquito nets to the people in villages we target and do classes on malaria prevention. If you want to help us with that, you can donate to our work special and we can continue to distribute nets to curb the spread of malaria. Here are some other ways you can donate for nets.

Give treated Mosquito nets via Samaritan's Purse:

Give treated Mosquito nets via Against Malaria Group:

Give treated Mosquito nets via Nothing but Nets: (you can play a game and send free nets TODAY ONLY too!)

1 comment :

NIGER1.COM said...

Hello I am from Niger and i run the website
my email is
if you go on my website you will see a video about mosquitoes nets in Niger
May be you can come on our page and mention your mosquitoes net project in Niger
My email is