Monday, January 11, 2010

Malaria: The Cost of Prevention

A young African mother is caught in a nightmare. Her twin daughters are at an age where they should be learning how to form their first sentences, how to run, and how to giggle with unbridled enthusiasm.
Instead, they are dying.
Hasena did not know the name of the plague which infected her tw0-year-old daughters, much less that the carrier of the plague was less than an inch long. She only knew that her daughters were sick, and that her only chance to save them was 40 miles away. Hasena made the two-day journey with a toddler in each arm.
“When I was a few hours away from the health center, they both stopped crying. When I arrived, the nurse told me that it was too late to treat their malaria.”
I found Hasena’s quote and story, paraphrased here, at
By the time you finish reading this post, five more children will die from malaria. The majority of malaria’s victims never live to see the age of 5. Malaria deaths would significantly decrease with simple resources, such as mosquito nets and increased education. According to William Easterly, author of “The White Man’s Burden,” 5 million children would be saved from malaria by donating 4 dollars per African mother.
The prevalence of malaria is not due to a lack of resources, but rather a lack of knowledge. This ignorance is pervasive in America.
Life extends beyond the borders of America. It reaches beyond the current economic crisis, beyond pop culture, and beyond the stress of earning a paycheck. If one asks, “What’s in it for me?” the most sincere answer is blunt: Nothing.
Saving a life won’t get you a better job, and it won’t buy you a new pair of jeans. But for a child and a mother who are so far away that they may seem invisible, it will be the most precious extension of grace, granting the promise of life and a future.
Visit to donate.

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