This is my last blog post, my taxi should be here in the next 15 minutes. So what better way to end my saga than with a blog about MALARIA?! April 25th is World Malaria Day, and sadly things don’t seem to have changed much since I was hyped up about malaria one year ago. Malaria still kills around 600,000 people worldwide, the majority of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa. And in Mozambique, malaria is still the leading cause of death, accounting for 29% of deaths in the country.
Perhaps you remember me writing about the horrible flooding in Gaza province back in January and February. The water washed out bridges and roads, isolating towns; submerged and destroyed houses; and drove food prices through the roof. But there was another less apparent result of all this flooding. Flooding, even after the bulk of the flooding has subsided, results in standing water in unexpected places, especially when people’s last concern is getting rid of all this standing water. And all this water leads to an increase in mosquitoes, the vector that carries malaria. This, coupled with the many many displaced people who are sleeping in temporary situations, most likely without mosquito nets, will surely lead to an increase in malaria in southern Mozambique this year. I am interested to see the rates when data is collected at the end of the year. Just from speaking to people in these areas, they have told me that there has been much more malaria this year than other years.
Hopefully, through initiatives like Stomping Out Malaria in Africa (check out the website!) and the numerous others being rolled out by NGOs, we can start to make a change for the better. Malaria is preventable and malaria treatable, we just need to continue to educate people about how they can impact and improve their own lives!