Sunday, January 20, 2008

A rampant, preventable disease

Malaria kills a child in Africa every 30 seconds. It is the single leading cause of death of children under five in that continent. Malaria causes around 350 to 500 million illnesses and more than one million deaths annually. Making these facts all the more tragic is the reality that malaria is preventable and treatable.

You may have seen the news back in October that the Coordinating Council of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship endorsed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of the United Nations. The MDGs are eight goals targeted for completion by 2015, including the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, promotion of gender equality, reduction of child mortality, improvement of maternal health, and achievement of universal primary education.

Another of the eight goals is about combating "HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases." I confess that I was unaware of the plague that is malaria until a little over 13 months ago. I had, of course, heard of the disease but I had no idea that it infects and kills so many people every year until First Lady, Laura Bush, made headlines a little over a year ago by hosting America's first malaria summit. On one of the news shows on which Mrs. Bush appeared in conjunction with the summit she mentioned the work of Malaria No More. I got the statistics above from their web page.

For a donation of $10 Malaria No More will purchase a bed net that will protect several people from malaria for up to five years. The organization will also transport the net and educate the recipient on using it. A portion of the donation also supports the comprehensive malaria elimination strategies of Malaria No More.

This is an effort worth supporting. After all Jesus did say that we should look after the sick as if we were looking after him (Mat. 25:36). I'm sure that he would say that the same applies to preventing sickness, especially when the lives of so many are at risk.

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