Malaria in Africa – Solving Angola’s Curse
Malaria in Africa is a gigantic problem that affects millions of lives. In modern countries of the world, malaria is under control. Malaria mosquitoes are fumigated. Vaccine to treat and prevent malaria is widely available. People with malaria are few and far between. But in the southern hemisphere, malaria in Africa makes up 80% of the cases world wide. Why is the problem so bad in a country like Angola?
For 25 years, until 2002, civil war raged in Angola. That war ended six year ago, yet displaced people from Angola are still rebuilding their homes. Since there are no lumber yards or home improvement centers, the people have few sources for the proper building materials. Instead, they do what they can and their crude huts have open windows.
The problem is the mosquitoes. Mosquitoes bite infected animals and pick up malaria cells. During the day and at night, those malaria-bearing mosquitoes fly through the open windows. Many children are bitten and and contract malaria, resulting in serious illness and even death.
Just what is malaria?
Malaria is a disease that starts when cells infected with malaria parasites enter the blood stream. These parasites multiply in blood cells causing symptoms of anemia (light headedness, shortness of breath, tachycardia etc.), as well as other general symptoms such as fever, chills, nausea, flu-like illness, and in severe cases, coma and death.
Malaria is Dangerous in Angola
According to the 2008 World Health Organization’s (WHO) World Health Statistics report, malaria is at epidemic stages in Africa. The majority of malaria cases happen to young children. According to the 2008 WHO report, 8.3% of children under the age of five die with malaria, which is about one in 12 children.
Simple Solutions to Keep Mosquitoes Out
Taking action to prevent mosquito bites is the first step in preventing malaria from affecting the children of Angola. Hanging a mosquito net over a bed that keeps mosquitoes away from sleeping children is one way to prevent mosquito bites. The mosquitoes still get into the house, though.
Another solution is to cover the open windows with screen mesh so that malaria bearing mosquitoes don’t enter the house at all. Just putting a screen mesh over the outside of the window can prevent mosquitoes from invading a hut and can keep children safe from malaria.
Collecting mosquito nets, screening and installation supplies like staple guns, staples and shears is a great first step. The next challenge is to find a reputable source to distribute these supplies to those who need them to prevent malaria in Africa.