Category Archives: Communicable Disease

Malaria No More Launches #MalariaSucks Campaign

As you might know last Friday marked World Malaria Day, a day to encourage the global health community, the private sector, governments, NGOs, and everyday, ordinary people to keep up the fight to help defeat malaria.

Every minute a child dies of malaria somewhere in the world, most of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa. In fact, 90% of children who die from malaria live in Africa and 40% of those live in Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, according to There is encouraging news, however. From 2000 – 2012 3.3 million lives were saved due to scaled up malaria control interventions. What many might not understand is that malaria is completely preventable and treatable, a fact that is repeatedly reiterated by the World Health Organization and others. Interventions such a insecticide-treated bed nets, residual indoor spraying, and draining of stagnant water helps to control malaria. One of the reasons many children, especially those under the age of five, die from malaria is because they are not treated in time or remote areas do not have access to rapid diagnostic tests and treatments.

Chongwe District Hospital
A mother and son in Chongwe District Hospital outside of Lusaka, Zambia. He was recovering from a severe bought of malaria. Copyright: Jennifer James

Malaria No More, an international NGO that is determined to end malaria, launched its Malaria Sucks campaign on World Malaria Day that encourages donations, as low as $1, to help save more children from dying from malaria. Malaria Sucks’ icon is an orange lollipop that signifies what children in malaria prone areas miss out on – their childhoods. One donated dollar goes to rapid diagnostic testing and full treatment for one child, so a dollar indeed makes a difference.

Celebrities have taken on the issue like Anthony Bourdain and James Ven Der Beek who tweeted their support of the Malaria Sucks campaign.

“MalariaSUCKS is a fun, tangible way for supporters to connect to an issue that may seem distant from their everyday lives,” said Malaria No More CEO Martin Edlund in a statement. “We’re putting our supporters in the spotlight – asking them to help us create real change through an everyday activity like posting a selfie and spreading a powerful humanitarian message through their social networks. It’s our pink ribbon, only sweeter.”

Global social engagement is key to the success of the campaign and Malaria No More is making it fun. Anyone can join the conversation by donating money to and by posting to #MalariaSucks.


A photo posted by A. Yancey (@fancyayancey) on

You can also generate a lollipop selfie and share with your friends. Here’s mine.


Visit to save a life.

Full disclosure: I traveled to Zambia with Malaria No More in October 2013 to cover the global launch of its Power of One campaign.

Support Our Partner, End 7

One thing is certain: I do not know how to read a fiscal budget, but I have sat in awe watching experts dissect the President’s budget line by line and then meticulously explain what programs have been cut and programs that have been relatively spared. So, when our partner, End 7, reported that funding for the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Neglected Tropical Disease Program has been cut by $13.5 million I know that as a community of passionate moms we need to do something.

Neglected tropical diseases are “neglected” because they don’t get the big funding and recognition like HIV/AIDS, malaria, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and diarrhea, for example. They are diseases that people can usually live with for some time despite discomfort and debilitating ailments and a lowered social standing.

According to End 7, neglected tropical diseases, like hookworm, trachoma, and lymphatic filariasis affect 1 in 6 people worldwide and keep them in a perpetual cycle of poverty. Most people don’t know about these diseases. Their names are too long and technical and don’t grab headlines, but they can be prevented. The global health community has committed itself to controlling and eradicating these neglected tropical diseases by 2020. In order to reach this goal the funding cannot stop now, especially when so much progress has already been made.

In 2012 the London Declaration Committment brought together an array of partners from the World Bank to USAID to GlaxoSmithKline to set strategic goals to eliminate the most common neglected tropical diseases by the end of the decade. A recent update report was released showing that more low income countries are implementing programs to control neglected tropical diseases in their own populace, the demand and allocation of drugs to prevent the diseases is higher, and more research and development is going into fighting these diseases. Even more importantly since 2012 the global efforts to control or eradicate neglected tropical diseases has now turned into a global movement. Read Delivering on Progress and Driving Progress.

End 7 is asking its supporters to encourage members of Congress to rethink the proposed spending cut to USAID’s Neglected Tropical Disease Program and to thank Congresswomen Granger and Lowey for keeping neglected tropical diseases on the funding agenda.



The Face of Neglected Tropical Disease

When we think about diseases in Africa we think about the biggest of them – malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and pneumonia. We forget about the neglected tropical diseases that debilitate so many in sub-Saharan Africa and southeast Asia from intestinal worms to elephantiasis. These diseases are real and they are easily prevented, but as their name suggests, these diseases are nearly neglected. In fact, the WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Luis G Sambo, called for increased funding last month to eradicate and control neglected tropical diseases by 2020 in Africa.

There has been notable progress is controlling neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). For example, all sub-Saharan countries save for Chad, Mali, Sudan and Ethiopia, have eradicated guinea worm. However there is still much work to do in order to wipe out the seven most common neglected tropical diseases.

The international NGO, End 7, is committed to seeing an end to neglected tropical diseases by 2020, but they need the help of the global public. A mere $.50 can protect one person for a full year from the seven most common NTDs. End7 has put together this telling video that shows the real face of neglected tropical disease. A young girl hasn’t grown properly and is perpetually legargic because of intestinal worms and her grandmother can no longer work because of elephantiasis.

Neglected tropical diseases keep the world’s poorest people in a constant cycle of poverty. These diseases – caused mainly by insects and parasites – keep productivity low. Sometimes entire communities are stricken by one or more of these diseases because they do not understand measure by which these diseases can be prevented and/or do not have the proper medications to keep these diseases at bay.

Visit to learn more and to take action.

Can $1 Really Save a Life?

Can $1 really save a life? Global malaria eradication NGO, Malaria No More, says yes.

With Power of One (Po1), Malaria No More’s new, innovative campaign that takes the power of people’s desire to do good coupled with a low price point to online and mobile philanthropy, Malaria No More is on a mission to close the perpetual gaps between malaria testing and treatment in some of the countries where children are hardest hit by malaria.

Malaria is one of the leading causes of child deaths in developing countries. In fact, 330 billion people live in malaria prone areas and 90 percent of all malaria deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa according to the World Health Organization. A more drastic fact is a child dies every minute from malaria, however these deaths are wholly preventable with early diagnosis and adequate treatment with malaria medicines.

Health Worker - Macha Malaria Institute
A malaria rapid diagnostic test being administered to a volunteer at Macha Malaria Research Institute in Macha, Zambia.

The problem is many children under five who live in remote areas in Africa don’t get diagnosed with malaria and treated quickly enough. Therein lies the big tragedy: a lack of access to malaria testing and medication causes 1400 deaths a day.

Through Power of One, anyone can donate $1 to save the life of a child. $1, according to Malaria No More, will provide testing and medication to a single child through the help of private sector partners such as Novartis and Alere . Malaria No More seeks to reach 3 million children in Zambia, the first country where the Power of One campaign will be rolled out. Zambia has already shown successes in its malaria control efforts through increased rapid diagnostic testing, increased bed net allocations, as well as through mobile rapid reporting systems that allow volunteer frontline health workers to report malaria cases as well as the number of or need for more malaria medical supplies in the most remote areas of the country.

To learn more and donate, visit and watch the quick video introduction about how your investment of $1 will save a child’s life.

George W. Bush Praises Zambia’s HIV/ AIDS National Efforts

In less than a month I will join nine other new media journalists on a reporting trip to Zambia as an International Reporting Zambia Fellow. We will be charged with learning more about HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis and their affects on the  Zambian citizens, report on the problems and Zambia’s national and community-led efforts to combat them. Leading up to, during, and after our trip to Zambia at the end of July I will report on these communicable diseases and how they acutely affect women, children, and families. You can read all of my content on the ZAMBIA tag.

This week George W. Bush will visit Zambia and Tanzania along with former first lady Laura Bush. They will be in Africa at the same time as the Obamas this week who will visit Tanzania, Senegal, and  South Africa. Bush will be visiting Zambia to refurbish a health clinic used primarily to diagnose and treat cervical and breast cancer through the Bush Institute’s Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon initiative. Michelle Obama is slated to join Laura Bush for the Investing in Women: Strengthening Africa event ad forum in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, for African first ladies.

Last week Bush praised Zambia for its ongoing efforts to get a handle on the HIV/AIDS crisis in the country that ranks tenth in the highest HIV rates in the world even though Zambia showed a greater then 50 percent decrease in HIV infection since 2001 according to UNAIDS latest global report on HIV/AIDS released in November 2012.  Additionally, according to the same UNAIDS report, Zambia also recorded a greater than 50 percent reduction in its HIV death rate from 2001 – 2011.

Lusaka Times reports that Bush told Zambia’s Ambassador to the United States of America, Palan Mulonda, “I am happy with the Zambian government for its commitment to the fight HIV/AIDS as evident by the budgetary allocation to the health sector.” Between 2009 – 2011 Zambia has received $153 million dollars through, the United States President’s Partnership Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

Based on data gleaned from the Global Fund 450,000 Zambians are currently on ARTs. To date, 76% of the $582 million of grants is dedicated to HIV/ AIDS.  It is also important to note the Global Fund grant performance for Zambia has hovered around adequate as opposed to exceeding or meeting expectations. The grants that have experienced some of the most success have been given to Churches Health Association of Zambia’s Program to Combat HIV/AIDS and United Nations Development Programme, Zambia, both with an A1 scored in grant performance.

At a glance, 11 percent of Zambia’s adults have HIV/AIDS according to UNICEF.  460,000 women and 170,000 children  in Zambia have HIV/AIDS.  The country is moving rapidly to prevent increased HIV/AIDS especially as the country experiences a youth bulge and many young girls have early sex.

You can follow all of my coverage about Zambia at

Photo: United Nations

GAVI Alliance Publishes 2012 Progress Report

Did you know there are 22 million children who still do not have access to vaccines? This is according to GAVI Alliance’s recently released 2012 Progress Report. Despite the high number of children who are not being vaccinated GAVI met and achieved many global milestones that are highlighted in its 2012 timeline including attracting $38 million US in pledges for childhood immunizations in January and securing a 67% decrease in rotavirus costs in April.

Pneumonia and diarrhea account for nearly a quarter of all deaths of children under the age of five so lowering the cost of the vaccines is critical to saving more children’s lives. Through vaccines 500,000 children’s lives can be saved annually.

In 2012 you can see the graph of GAVI supported vaccine introductions. Click to enlarge. From the graph, the standout country in 2012 was Ghana which rolled out yellow fever, pnemococcal, rotavirus, measles 2nd dose, and meningitis A vaccines. 

2012-introductions (1)

Eradication of vaccine-preventable diseases is the ultimate equity – no one has to suffer from the disease anymore. – Dr Alan Hinman, CSO representative, GAVI Board

In the report it is surprising to learn that across the 73 approved GAVI countries there is only 3% coverage of the rotavirus vaccine and 10% coverage of the pneumococcal vaccine, even though as aforementioned pneumonia and diarrhea are the leading causes of death for children under the age of 5. As of 2012 here is a graph showing the vaccine coverage.

GAVI is working on several goals including lowering the price of vaccines, strengthening health systems to make delivery easier, and increase the amount and availability of vaccines globally.

You can read the entire 2012 Progress Report at

Photos: United Nations and GAVI

Stories, Photos, and Videos from #SocialGoodMomsIndia Trip

Stories, Photos, and Videos from #SocialGoodMomsIndia Trip

From May 20 – 24, 2013 Jennifer James, founder of Mom Bloggers for Social Good, and Nicole Melancon, of Third Eye Mom, traveled to Delhi, India to visit Mom Bloggers for Social Good partners to see their work in the field. Here’s who they met along the way.

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[Photos] An Historical Look at Tuberculosis

Yesterday marked World TB Day. There is still much to be done to eradicate the infectious disease globally. Here in the United States, TB rates remain around 3.4 cases per 100,000 people. And 62% of TB cases in the United States are from foreign-born persons.

While tuberculosis was rampant in the early to mid part of the twentieth century in the United States, TB has fallen drastically since then as aforementioned. In fact, according to the CDC the number of reported TB cases in 2011 was the lowest recorded since national reporting began in 1953.

Here is a look back at tuberculosis in the United States in art and photos.

2 P.M. Mrs. Katie --- (refused to give their name), 134 1/3 Thompson St., one flight up, front. Making artificial flowers in a crowded and dirty room used as kitchen, bed room, living room, and work room. Mother and family work including 8 and 9 yr. old girls in the photo (who were at home 2 P.M. on a school day) and the little 3 and 4 yr. olds who were helping by separating the petals. See report on schedule. Name is Darelli [or Tarelli?] 3 days after photo was taken the home was sealed up and disinfected by Board of Health for tuberculosis; 14 yr. old boy. Immediately the flower making resumed again. Location: New York, New York (State)
2 P.M. Mrs. Katie — (refused to give their name), 134 1/3 Thompson St., one flight up, front. Making artificial flowers in a crowded and dirty room used as kitchen, bed room, living room, and work room. Mother and family work including 8 and 9 yr. old girls in the photo (who were at home 2 P.M. on a school day) and the little 3 and 4 yr. olds who were helping by separating the petals. See report on schedule. Name is Darelli [or Tarelli?] 3 days after photo was taken the home was sealed up and disinfected by Board of Health for tuberculosis; 14 yr. old boy. Immediately the flower making resumed again. Location: New York, New York (State) January 1910.
Triboro Hospital for Tuberculosis, Parsons Blvd., Jamaica, New York. Kitchen III LC-G612-T-39079
Triboro Hospital for Tuberculosis, Parsons Blvd., Jamaica, New York. Kitchen III January 10, 1941

Sun parlor in tubercular hospital. [between ca. 1910 and ca. 1920] Dayton, Ohio (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Sun parlor in tubercular hospital. [between ca. 1910 and ca. 1920] Dayton, Ohio (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
Protect her from tuberculosis Consultation of your doctor or clinic means prevention. WPA Federal Art Project, [between 1936 and 1938]
Protect her from tuberculosis Consultation of your doctor or clinic means prevention. WPA Federal Art Project, [between 1936 and 1938]
[Tubercular child seated on bed, outdoors, at Sea Breeze Hospital, Coney Island, New York] [between 1900 and 1920]
[Tubercular child seated on bed, outdoors, at Sea Breeze Hospital, Coney Island, New York] [between 1900 and 1920]
Photos: Library of Congress

The Plight of Female Frontline Health Workers

We have written at length about the power of frontline health workers from documenting female frontline health workers in Ethiopia to discussing the importance of their work as they provide health care to those without access to health centers and hospitals. While we know that frontline health workers are pivotal to the overall health of a country, it is also important to note that many put their lives on the line in the name of global health.

Today news emerged from Nigeria that nine female polio health workers were killed by gunmen. There are only three countries where the polio is endemic – Nigeria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Female health workers in Pakistan were also targeted and killed in Pakistan in December and January.

The global health community is extremely close to eradicating polio globally through lifesaving vaccines, but a stubborn virus coupled with human opposition to erasing it from the planet continue to keep polio alive in Asia and Africa.

Learn more about how you can help end polio at

UN Photo/Jawad Jalali

Bill Gates On the Importance of Measurement in Global Health #BillsLetter

Every year Bill Gates, the Co-Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, writes an annual letter laying out his vision for the future of global health and poverty eradication. This year’s letter, which can be read at, espouses the critical importance of measurement in saving more lives. In fact, Gates uses measurement in business as an example of its parallel importance in global health programs and delivery to those in most need.

Gates writes about global health and education programs that have used measurement as a key driver of their work. For example, using MDGs as a framework and by learning from the successes of the Indian state of Kerala in health delivery to its most vulnerable communities,  Ethiopia has subsequently been able to successfully lower its rate of child mortality. As Gates writes, “Ethiopia’s effort on health has lowered child mortality over 60 percent since 1990″. Ethiopia was able to achieve a proven decrease in child mortality with the implementation of 34,000 female frontline health workers who are in charge of 15,000 health posts scattered throughout the country. These health workers provide health care for those in their communities where previously health care was relegated to those who were near hospitals and health centers. Now, using Ethiopia as an example, Nigeria, Malawi and Rwanda are in the process of creating their own country-wide models for frontline health workers and better health care delivery to its citizens.

Gates also shares the prolific work India did in conjunction with Rotary International to eradicate polio from the country. This year marks the second year India is polio-free. This is thanks in large part to the work of health workers as well as robust geographic assessments that showed parts of the country that were not being reached for routine polio vaccine coverage. When measurements and changes were put into place, polio was eradicated from the country. Now polio is only found in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria.

Melinda Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, wrote a section in the annual letter that discusses her family planning efforts and the critical need for precise measurements in order to provide more family planning options for women who live in the world’s poorest countries.

“I didn’t feel I had an accurate picture of how many women currently have or lack access to contraceptives, or what could realistically be done to drive improvement,” Gates wrote.

Through her work leading the London Summit on Family Planning last year data was sifted through in order to clearly determine that 120 million women need access to family planning services.

In all, Bill Gates’ push for more measurement in global health programs is sure to help save millions more lives in the coming decades because the more everyone knows the more can be done.

To read Bill Gates’ full annual letter visit or you can download it as a PDF. Additionally if you would like to share your hope for the 2030, visit the Gates Foundation Facebook page where you can have your voice heard on the My Hope for 2030 app. 

Photo: Gates Foundation