Guest blog by Namugenyi Kiwanuka
A few years ago, I contracted malaria in Sierra Leone. I came face to face with the realities of what it’s like to seek treatment for this deadly and common illness. Even though I had access to the best hospitals, I was treated with a banned drug and nearly lost my life.
I was able to leave Sierra Leone to seek treatment back home. But that’s not the reality for those who are faced with malaria everyday. Ninety per cent of global malaria deaths are in Africa and a child dies every 30 seconds from the parasitic disease. It’s common for most families to survive on a few dollars a day. If confronted with the decision of feeding your family versus seeking care for malaria, what do you do?
Because there is no vaccine for malaria the most effective way to prevent it is to sleep under an insecticide treated bed net. However many of the families who need the nets cannot afford them. As we celebrate the third annual World Malaria Day on April 25th, we can all feel empowered to play a role in saving a life by donating a bed net to those most in need for only $10.
Even now, years later, I still feel the effects of malaria. I am now more susceptible to the flu and common cold. I fought my malaria for nearly a month but for children it can claim their lives in less than 24 hours. Malaria kills more children in Africa than TB, AIDS or any other disease. It’s easy for us to put our heads in the ground because sometimes the world can be too much.
But if you were able to save someone’s life, wouldn’t you want to make a difference?
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For more info, please visit: http://www.redcross.ca/malariabites/