By: Stephanie Reed | Category: Other | Issue: April 2014
A Ghanaian boy receives a mosquito net, courtesy of Kairos10, that could very well save his life and the lives of family members.
Malaria is a killer, a killer that claims one child’s life per minute. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2012 alone, malaria claimed the lives of 627,000 people, 86 percent of which were children, with a total of 207 million cases reported. These statistics tell us two very important things. The first – malaria is a vicious disease, and the second – malaria is preventable and curable.
Malaria is not a disease most Americans are familiar with. It is the name of a faraway sickness of little to no consequence for most of us. Unfortunately, that is simply not the case. In America, an average of 1,500 cases of malaria are reported annually, though the disease was eradicated in the 1950s. Marked by vomiting, body aches, fever, and, if left untreated, death, malaria is transmitted through mosquito bites. Symptoms begin to occur seven to 30 days after infection; if antimalarial drugs have been taken, symptoms may take weeks or even months to manifest, often leading to misdiagnosis. The disease can lay dormant in the liver and reactivate after periods of dormancy for two to even four years. Pregnant women and children under the age of five are particularly susceptible.
Researchers have found that the best way to fight malaria is to prevent it. Mosquito nets, which shelter and protect five people, have proven especially effective. The problem – in the last year, major distributors have decreased the number of nets distributed, and the death toll has risen. According to WHO, the net distribution total is down 50 percent from 2010. The solution – local nonprofits are raising money to distribute nets in affected areas, and we can help.
Phyllis Morris is one such individual who is helping; together with Katheryn Pennington, they founded Kairos10, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting malaria in Ghana. “This mission is so close to my heart. As a parent, when you see your children suffer, you will do anything to help ease their pain. We are so fortunate to have qualified doctors and hospitals, but so many families in Ghana have to watch their babies suffer and die. I can’t abide by that – not when there is something that I can do to help prevent the illness,” explains Phyllis, a nurse.
Kairos10 purchases Ghanaian beads made from recycled glass, vinyl records, bones, and brass from local merchants and pays native women to make jewelry. The jewelry is then sold in the United States, and the proceeds are used to purchase and distribute insecticide-treated bed nets. Thus far, Kairos10 has succeeded in protecting over 110,000 people from malaria through the distribution of
This April, in honor of World Malaria Day, we can all be heroes. Armed with the knowledge that malaria is not a sickness of long ago, we can all join in the fight to eradicate this killer. For more information on jewelry sales or to get involved, contact Kairos10.
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