All posts by Jennifer James

Jennifer James is the founder of Social Good Moms, a global coalition of 3000+ mothers who care about pressing global issues. She has written over 70 articles for the Gates Foundation and has written about women's and girls' issues for ELLE and Cosmo South Africa and Huffington Post's Impact. She has been named a Fast Company Most Generous Social Media Maven and is a recipient of two International Reporting Project fellowships to Zambia and Tanzania and a National Press Foundation Vaccine Fellowship. James has reported about global health from Haiti, Brazil, Ethiopia, India, Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa, the Philippines, and Zambia. You can contact Jennifer at info@mombloggersforsocialgood.com.

3 Ways You Can Help On World Malaria Day

Today is World Malaria Day. This year’s theme: End Malaria for Good.

While 6.8 million malaria deaths were averted between 2000 – 2015, there are still 3.2 billion people who are susceptible to contracting the disease every day and a half million children die from malaria every year.  There is a long way to go to save more lives especially for children under the age of five in sub-Saharan African where most deaths occur.

How Can You Help?

  • Donate to Malaria No More to help them eradicate malaria by 2040.
  • Learn the facts about malaria below in the CDC’s latest infographic and see why it needs to be eradicated.
  • Read more about the world’s first malaria vaccine trials (announced yesterday) in Kenya, Ghana, and Malawi that are slated to begin in 2018.

world-malaria-day-infographic_2017_1200

Photo: GAVI/Doune Porter/PATH/2012

Three African Countries Chosen for First Malaria Vaccine Trials

For decades, there has been consistent chatter, research, and hope for a potential malaria vaccine. Now, all three are finally coming to fruition to roll out the world’s first clinical malaria vaccine trials. The World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa (WHO/AFRO) announced today that Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi have been chosen for the WHO-coordinated pilot implementation program that will make the world’s first malaria vaccine available in 2018.

“The prospect of a malaria vaccine is great news. Information gathered in the pilot will help us make decisions on the wider use of this vaccine,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, in a statement. “Combined with existing malaria interventions, such a vaccine would have the potential to save tens of thousands of lives in Africa,” she added.

Sub-Saharan Africa records 90% of all global malaria cases. Even though the number of cases and deaths have dropped dramatically since 2001, the rate is still astronomically high. In fact, malaria still remains one of the deadliest killers on the African continent, especially for children under the age of five.

To date, the most effective way to curb malaria cases is via the use of bed nets and indoor residual spraying.  Unfortunately, 43% of sub-Saharan Africans are not protected against either and 429,000 people died from malaria in 2015. After spending time with mothers in Tanzania with Malaria No More, I saw this to be true. I met moms standing in long lines to receive new nets, but the ones they had used for years had holes throughout, rendering them virtually worthless.

There is now new hope to curb child deaths with the injectible malaria vaccine targeted to children within five to 17 months called RTS,S. The vaccine developed by GlaxoSmithKline. Malawi, Kenya, and Ghana were chosen for the following reasons according to the World Health Organization:

  • high coverage of long-lasting insecticidal treated nets (LLINs)
  • well-functioning malaria and immunization programs
  • a high malaria burden even after scale-up of LLINs,
  • and participation in the Phase III RTS,S malaria vaccine trial

The countries themselves will determine the areas in their country where the trials will ultimately take place. The $49.2 million cost of the trials will be taken up by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and UNITAID. The World Health Organization and GlaxoSmithKline will additionally provide complimentary funds for the malaria trial efforts.

Photo: UN Photo/Marie Frechon

Two Doctors Arrested in Michigan for Performing Female Genital Mutilation

An anonymous tip to federal authorities, cell phone records, and surveillance video have put two doctors behind bars for carrying out female genital mutilation (FGM) on young girls as young as seven in Michigan. Dr. Jumana Nagarwala and Dr. Fakhruddin Attar are currently awaiting a detention hearing next week. Attar’s wife was also arrested at she and her husband’s suburban Livonia, Michigan clinic on Friday.

The girls who live in Minnesota were taken by their parents to Michigan in February for the FGM procedure that was performed by Nagarwala at Attar’s clinic. Nagarwala denies performing FGM, but rather removing membranes for burial by the girls’ parents. While the parents have not been arrested one girl was put in the care of the state for a short period.

A federal law passed in 1996 officially made FGM illegal across the country. 25 states also have anti-FGM laws on their books. Despite FGM’s illegality, it is estimated that there are 500,000 young girls in the United States who have either undergone FGM or are at risk for having the procedure done in secret.

Those involved are alleged to be a part of the Dawoodi Bohra community in Michigan.

Surveillance from the unsealed complaint revealed 20-minute FGM procedures performed by Nagarwala after hours and phone records showing Mrs. Attar telling the girls’ parents to deny everything if they were contacted by investigators.

The detention hearings are expected to take place on Wednesday. Nagarwala was already deemed a flight risk after being caught trying to take a flight to Kenya.

WATCH: Ed Sheeran Visits Liberia for Red Nose Day

The Red Nose Day campaign to end child poverty returns in the U.S. on Thursday, May 25, in conjunction with a night of special programming and the third annual “Red Nose Day Special” on NBC.

One of the best ways to help vulnerable children in low-and-middle-income countries is by telling their authentic stories to those who can help make their lives a little better.

Along with Comic Relief, Ed Sheeran recently traveled to West Point, one of west Africa’s largest and most dangerous slums, in Liberia’s capital Monrovia. There he saw children whose lives have been routinely ravaged by poverty, the Ebola crisis, and an economy that was devastated by the notorious disease that killed thousands. Today, an estimated 14,000 children (some as young as seven) are living and working on Monrovia’s streets.

In Liberia, Sheeran shot a video set to “What Do I Know,” a track from Ed’s latest album Divide to bring awareness to street kids who live in Monrovia.

Continue reading WATCH: Ed Sheeran Visits Liberia for Red Nose Day