Friday April 25th marked World Malaria Day. People across the globe took part in various activities to raise money and awareness to help treat and prevent the disease.
However, one day of awareness and fundraising is not enough to combat a disease that for Haiti and half of the world is a constant, everyday threat.
Malaria is a preventable disease transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes. These mosquitoes carry a parasite called Plasmodium. Symptoms include fever, headache, and vomiting which appear 10 to 15 days after contraction. If left untreated, malaria can disrupt the blood supply to vital organs and result in death.
The World Health Organization reports that each year, malaria kills an estimated 627,000 people, mainly children under the age of five. More than 200 million cases of Malaria occur each year, yet most of these cases have never been tested or registered.
Haiti has the western hemisphere’s highest mortality rate for infants under five years old. One out of every eight children will die before the age of five because a preventable disease (like malaria) will claim their young and precious lives. The World Health Organization states that “malaria, along with tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and malnutrition are the leading causes of death for children under the age of five in Haiti”.
Each year, ICC Haiti’s clinics and Grace Children’s Hospital receives thousands of children who are suffering from diseases like malaria, as well as tuberculosis and HIV. Because no commercially available malaria vaccine yet exists, ICC Haiti combats the disease through the diagnosis and treatment of infected adults and children.
The World Health Organization's theme for 2014 and 2015 malaria awareness is: “Invest in the future. Defeat malaria.” Because of global efforts from organizations like ICC and kind financial support from donors like you, malaria mortality rates have been reduced in Haiti. Globally, deaths from malaria have decreased by 42%.
You can help ICC defeat malaria in Haiti by becoming educated on the importance of malaria prevention and treatment, and by financially supporting ICC’s efforts. ICC will continue to diagnose and treat malaria until it no longer threatens the lives of children and their families. Your generous contributions will help treat those currently affected by the disease, and help those who may become infected in the future.