According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) World Malaria Report 2022 issued in December, there were 247 million cases of malaria worldwide in 2021 resulting in 619,000 deaths with the WHO African Region continuing to carry a disproportionately high share of the global malaria burden.
In fact, the WHO reports, “In 2021 the region was home to about 95 percent of all malaria cases and 96 percent of deaths,” and tragically, “children under 5 years of age accounted for about 80 percent of all malaria deaths in the region.”
And today, Tuesday, April 25, is the World Health Organization’s (WHO) World Health Day, instituted in 2007 “to highlight the need for continued investment and sustained political commitment for malaria prevention and control.”
Bread and Water for Africa® has been working for years to help prevent the transmission of the deadly mosquito-borne disease by shipping antimalarial prophylaxis drugs such as chloroquine which are also used to treat infected patients.
In addition, earlier this year we initiated a partnership with a grassroots organization in Mwanza, Tanzania, Watato Wa Africa (Children of Africa), which operates an orphanage currently caring for nearly 90 “street children” ranging in age from infant to 17, that was facing the threat of closure by the government unless necessary improvements were made to the facility.
WAA founder and director Josephat Kirutu Robogo learned about Bread and Water for Africa® online and explained one of the areas needing to be addressed for the orphanage to remain open was to improve the living conditions for the children and youth living in dormitories which needed new beds and bed linens.
So, thanks to the supporters of Bread and Water for Africa®, we were able to provide WAA with grant funding to purchase dozens of new mattresses, repair and reinforce existing bed frames as well as purchase 30 new ones.
But also, being well aware of the prevalence of malaria in the Mwana region, we felt it was imperative to provide additional funding to not only keep them safe and warm in their beds at night but also to provide each bed with mosquito netting to prevent them from getting bitten by mosquitos as they sleep.
At Bread and Water for Africa® we are saddened by the illness and deaths of all who are connected to the grassroots charitable organizations we support in Cameroon, Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and elsewhere – but none more so than those needless deaths of children whose lives could have been saved by taking simple precautions such as mosquito netting and inexpensive and commonplace medications.
Note: Just this month we were pleased and thrilled to learn that there are high hopes for a new malaria vaccine (called R21) described as a “world-changer” by the scientists who developed it and appears to be “hugely effective,” according to BBC News which Ghana became the first country to approve its use. Trial data from preliminary studies in Burkina Faso show that the new vaccine is “up to 80 percent effective” when given as three initial doses, and a booster a year later.
Other African countries are also studying the data, as is the World Health Organization. The CEO of a company preparing to produce up to 200 million doses annually, which are expected to cost $2 per dose, says the new vaccine represents a “significant milestone in our efforts to combat malaria around the world.”