Published: April 17th 2012April 1st 2012
Stomping Out Malaria in Mopti
PCV Heather Sharp teaches a classroom full of kids how to make natural Neem Bug Repellant Lotion.
Over half of a million people died from malaria last year. This is more people than in the average American city. Imagine the entire city of Atlanta being wiped off the map. The year before, we lost Denver. The year before that, all of Boston, all gone, in one fell swoop.
The majority of these deaths took place in Africa. In fact there are six countries that account for over 60% of worldwide malaria deaths: Burkina Faso, Cote D’Ivoire, the DRC, Nigeria, Mozambique, and … Mali.
Malaria has been around for centuries. King Tut likely died of malaria in 1332 B.C. This makes it seem like fighting malaria is a lost cause. It’s been around since forever and it’ll be around forever. But this isn’t true. Malaria is on the decline. As recently as 65 years ago, malaria ran rampant through the Southern US. So much so, that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) was established in 1946 with the mission of fighting malaria. But within five years, the disease disappeared. Can this sort of success happen in Africa? Without a doubt.
Since 2000, malaria deaths have fallen by 26%.
Manic Mande Malaria Bike Tour
PCVs bike from market to market to spread awareness about malaria and teach prevention techniques.
This is a huge accomplishment, and I believe that we can make it up to 50% by 2015. 2010 alone accounted for a 5% drop in malaria deaths from the previous year. Zero malaria deaths is well within our reach.
But it has to start here. It has to start in Mali. We need to set the example and show the world that this is possible. Malaria is not only preventable, but 100% treatable. I ask that each volunteer make it their personal mission to transmit this message to their neighbors and friends. Malaria doesn’t have to be a fact of life. They can change that. They can change the future. Their children will grow up and tell their grandchildren of this once horrible disease that used to be responsible for over 60% of Malian deaths, and the grandchildren won’t believe them. This is possible.
How? Mosquito nets
. The entire family, every night, throughout the year. This is non-negotiable. Peace Corps Mali Volunteers committed to having at least one conversation a week about mosquito nets. It may not seem like much, but that will add up to over 100 mosquito net conversations by the end of their service.
. Again, malaria is 100% treatable. There is no reason whatsoever that anyone should die of malaria. None. At the first sign of fever, Malians need to do everything in their power to seek treatment. Yes, transportation and medication are expensive, but not as expensive as a funeral. For every 100 Malian children born, almost 20 will die before their fifth birthday.
Over 10 of these deaths will be due to malaria. If Malians decide to take a stand against malaria we could more than halve the infant mortality rate! Peace Corps Mali Volunteers have chosen to be a part of Mali’s history by helping to reach this milestone. They've committed themselves to weekly encouraging Malians to seek early treatment for fevers and monthly working to improve access to medications.
In 2011, Peace Corps Mali joined together with all of the other Peace Corps Africa countries to finally Stomp Out Malaria in Africa. There are over 3000 volunteers across the continent who just like us are working to bring this number to zero by 2020. You can check out some of the cool projects being done here
, or here
,. World Malaria Day, April 25, is quickly approaching. What will you do on April 25 to help end malaria?"
PCRV Mali 2010-2011
RPCV Guinea 2007-2009