Last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) revised its mosquito net distribution standards. As a result, in Burkina Faso, a small, landlocked nation in West Africa, a total of 60,000 insecticide-treated mosquito nets were distributed by the Red Cross Red Crescent at a rate of one net per two people, providing valuable disease protection to approximately 120,000. Before these new standards were released by WHO, mosquito net distribution was mainly for pregnant women and small children, with the maximum number of nets per family set at two.
In many parts of the world, death due to mosquito-borne disease is a common fact of life. In Burkina Faso, the disease causing the most havoc is malaria. As many as 50% of all medical consultations in this region are due to malaria, which is also responsible for their high infant mortality rate. Many people who suffer from the symptoms of malaria do not seek medical assistance until it is too late, as their customs and beliefs are deeply-rooted in herbal medicine and natural healers. Therefore, prevention becomes even more important, and mosquito nets used to cover you while you sleep at night have proven effective.
The distribution of mosquito nets may not sound like a big deal, but in many parts of the world, mosquitoes are responsible for more deaths than any other single factor. Worldwide, mosquitoes kill literally millions of people each year. Many of these areas tend to be poverty-stricken, lacking the funds and/or infrastructure to effectively eradicate the mosquitoes, so mosquito netting is one of the most effective tools in preventing disease.
A non-profit organization, Malaria No More, has teamed up with Mosquito Squad to raise $30,000 in 30 days (the month of November) to provide mosquito nets to 3,000 families in Africa. You can help by donating $10.00 – the cost of one net. Just text the word “SWAT” to 85944, and your ten dollar donation will then be billed to your cell phone bill. Or, if you’d rather, visit http://30000in30days.com to donate by credit card. All donations are fully deductible to the extent allowed by law. It just may be the most worthwhile ten dollars you ever spend.
Kero, N. (2009). Burkina Faso: Malaria prevention plan extends protection dramatically. Retrieved July 14, 2009, from http://www.ifrc.org/Docs/News/09/09071001/indexasp
USAID. (2007). Infectious disease. Retrieved July 14, 2009, from http://www.usaid.gov/our_work/global_health/id/malaria/techareas/itn.html