According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), malaria is one of the most severe public health problems in the world. It is the leading cause of death among children and pregnant women in the developing world, and is a serious hindrance to economic growth and development. In 2010, malaria killed 655,000 people and left 216 million more with serious medical complications. Children made up the highest number of those killed by the disease – 86% of malaria deaths in 2010 were children. 91% of those deaths were in Africa.
International Community Combats Deadly Disease
Over the past decade, the United Nations, the World Bank, and international NGOs such as SOS Children’s Villages have come together to fight the spread of malaria. Meanwhile, governments in places most affected by the disease, such as Africa and South Asia, have become better at providing their people with proper medical care and instituting preventative measures. By 2010, 145 million bed nets, which are cheap and extremely effective against the mosquitos which spread the deadly disease, had been distributed to Sub-Saharan Africa.
Between 2000 and 2010 global malaria mortality rates dropped by 26% - a drop which saved over 1 million lives. However, while this progress is impressive, the international community cannot forget about malaria. This is a preventable disease, and it will continue to be a problem until the number of deaths caused by malaria has dropped to an annual rate of 0.
SOS Preventing and Treating Malaria
An SOS nurse filling out medical forms with a mother and her child in Takorka, Niger.
SOS has always believed that access to health services, both preventive and curative, is essential to ensuring the health of children, families, and communities. In 2011 alone, 6.9 million children died before they reached the age of five. While some of the causes of child mortality cannot be easily prevented, many, like malaria, can.
Medical centers in underdeveloped areas, such as Africa and South Asia, provide basic healthcare for free, and offer quality care to women and children, two of the most vulnerable groups in underdeveloped nations. By working closely together with local authorities, communities and other NGOs, SOS Children’s Villages strives to spread basic knowledge and offer expertise on the prevention and treatment of diseases and conditions often closely related to poverty.
For children in countries like the Malawi, this care is essential. Families who need assistance are often provided with life-saving kits which contain food supplies and, importantly, mosquito nets and pesticides which prevent the spread of malaria.
Donate to SOS Children’s Villages today, or sponsor a child in Africa or South Asia, to help SOS implement more medical programs around the world.