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 WorldMalariaDay.org. 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 www.MalariaNoMore.org/MalariaSUCKS and by posting to #MalariaSucks.

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#MalariaSucks http://malarianomore.org/malariasucks

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

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Visit www.MalariaNoMore.org/MalariaSUCKS 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 End7.org 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  www.Po1.org 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 mombloggersforsocialgood.com/tag/zambia.

Photo: United Nations