When people think about new inventions, 95% of them immediately begin thinking about tech inventions, but what about medical inventions that save lives?
Merck recently launched a video that asked Americans what invention they are waiting for. Take a look.
Did you know 68% of Americans cannot name a single scientist working to invent medicine?
Merck has been working for over a century on medicines and vaccines that save lives. Visit their site on Inventing for Life where you can see a timeline of Merck’s work as well as meet some of its scientists, and see some of its impact on the world’s most challenging diseases.
I’m happy to share this video today as I know how important their work is on maternal health with Merck for Mothers.
I have been told enough harrowing personal stories and have read enough reports to understand contracting malaria isn’t a cakewalk. And for children (especially those under the age of five) and expectant mothers malaria can be deadly. Fortunately with rapid diagnosis and malaria treatments children as well as adults can experience speedy recoveries from a disease that is both debilitating and potentially fatal.
While in Zambia last month I visited the Chongwe District Hospital in Lusaka province with Malaria No More to see how robust malaria control efforts funded by the Zambian government, USAID, the Global Fund and other NGOs and private foundations have helped drastically reduced the number of child deaths in the country. Zambia has effectively reduced the number of malaria deaths to 8000 annually through prevention measures including mass distributions of mosquito nets, indoor residual spraying, fogging, and spraying of mosquito-infected areas like bogs and dambos (shallow wetlands). The annual deaths have also been reduced because of the mass test and treatment programs that are being administered by frontline health workers around the country. Unfortunately, the vast majority of these deaths are children under the age of five because their immune systems cannot fight off the disease without the help of a positive diagnosis and follow-up medications.
In Zambia 50% of children are admitted to hospitals due to malaria according to UNICEF. You must also understand that being admitted to a hospital means that frontline health care didn’t work and that hospital care is necessary. In Zambia as well as in most developing countries, most healthcare is done on the local level. Most severe cases are referred to hospitals as was the case of these three children I met in the Chongwe District Hospital located about an hour outside of Lusaka.
While malaria is wholly preventable and treatable some children still struggle getting better when they contract the infectious disease. This little boy was extremely sick, but was steadily getting better. I took his picture as he slept with the permission of his mother who was sitting lovingly at his side.
This little boy played with his mother’s hands and reached to breastfeed as he laid beside her. He had one of the sweetest faces I’ve ever seen and was quickly on the mend from his bout of malaria. This little boy, who was snuggled with his mother, was also feeling better than before, but was quite lethargic. There are stages children have to go through to get better. Doctors had a positive prognosis for his eventual improvement.
By 2015, Zambia has a goal of having 100% of malaria cases are diagnosed and treated with Coartem on the community and health post level. While that goal hasn’t been achieved yet, Zambia with the expertise of Path’s MACEPA program and countrywide campaigns such as Power of One is helping Zambia steadily stand behind its commitment.
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.
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.
From mid July through the end of the month I traveled throughout Zambia covering stories about HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria with the International Reporting Project as an IRP Zambia Fellow. I joined nine other new media journalists who put a new spin on traditional reporting of these infectious diseases. You can read my published pieces so far below and see some of my photos from the trip. All of the trip photos have been captioned if you would like to learn more about a specific one.