Apr 24th, 2013 11:56 AM UTC
By Nealon DeVore
You might have seen her perform it when she closed out the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations here in Johannesburg back in February. Yvonne has recorded this version with Denis Dowlut, Michael Abdul and Themba Mhinga.
World Malaria Day is an important moment to focus global attention on the scourge of malaria. This completely preventable and treatable disease is transmitted by the bites of a specific species of mosquito. Yet as our partners at United Against Malaria note, it continues to kill a child every 60 seconds and causes 655,000 deaths every year—with the vast majority of these occurring across Africa.
ONE is fighting this disease through our campaign for the full funding of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which finances medical treatment and prevention measures for malaria all over the world.
In addition to funding the fight, it is also essential to educate communities at high risk of exposure to malaria on how they can prevent it and seek treatment immediately if anyone in the family shows symptoms. UAM is working with some of Africa’s biggest football stars to raise awareness about malaria, as well as celebrated artists like Yvonne Chaka Chaka to carry the message through music.
And take one minute to sign our petition calling for world leaders to scale up their support for the Global Fund.
Apr 19th, 2013 5:13 PM UTC
By Helen Hector
World Malaria Day is on Thursday 25 April, we’re marking it by inviting you to our Google+ Hangout where you can hear first hand from the people who dedicate their lives to fighting malaria around the world.
If no have no idea what a Google+ Hangout is and are about to click away, WAIT! It’s a really easy way to get people in different places all talking to each other on your screen. You can interact by posting questions and comments, or just sit back and enjoy. You can watch the conversation live on either Google+ or YouTube. Still with us? Good.
Together, our guests will cut through the clutter and answer questions like:
We promise there will be no jargon or complicated science—just the truth about this incredible global battle to save lives and how you can contribute to it.
Our resident global health expert Erin Hohlfelder will be hosting some special guests and talking about how we can eradicate malaria, the technology that’s available, current on the ground projects, the progress already made and the challenges ahead.
If you have a question for any of our guests, leave it as a comment below and we’ll try and answer as many of them as we can during the event.
Jan 18th, 2013 9:41 AM UTC
By Guest Blogger
Guest blog post from Malaria No More.
Last summer the Confederation of African Football endorsed United Against Malaria partnership – of which Malaria No More is a key member – as a premier social cause of the most-followed events in Africa: the 2013 Cup of Nations (AFCON) football tournament.
The most revered champions of Africa’s best loved sport talking about malaria during Africa’s most watched public events? A captive audience of 6.6 billion people, most of them living in malaria-endemic Africa? What could be more captivating!
The biggest names in African football and the top political leaders in Africa’s malaria fight signed onto the campaign, and lent their time to record public messages about malaria for their African audience. These include five elite footballers and five African presidents, including football legends Didier Drogba and Samuel Eto’o, and the first-ever female African head of state, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. TV, radio ads, and billboards were created which feature the players and presidents, targeting policy-makers and decision makers about investments in malaria programs, as well promoting calls-to-action with simple steps to prevent and treat malaria.
Didier Drogba’s Malaria Prevention PSA
To ensure these malaria messages are heard by football fanatics continent-wide, 10 pan-African TV/radio stations, including the biggest radio station in Africa and the official football tournament channel, advertisements in over 10 countries, and 75 billboards in more than 13 countries are helping get the job done.
In addition to the tremendous media support, the campaign launched at the African Union Summit to include more African Heads of State, and a TV spot about the campaign aired during the AFCON Draw and East Africa CECAFA tournament. During the AFCON games, the campaign will be included during AFCON half-times (when football fans are already tuned into watch their favorite footballers), in AFCON sportscasters’ dialogue during televised games, and at the AFCON Final Game’s closing ceremony?
Football stars in malaria prevention billboards around Africa
For Africa’s social media users, a 2-minute quiz is available on the United Against Malaria Facebook page for the chance to win Drogba-autographed swag, like a football or a jersey.
Apr 25th, 2012 3:48 PM UTC
By ONE Partners
The following is a guest blog from Noella Moshi, United Against Malaria
Malaria kills nearly 700,000 people every year and costs sub-Saharan Africa up to 12 billion dollars in economic productivity, foreign investment, tourism and trade each year. It’s a huge barrier to economic development in affected countries and has life-altering, long-term repercussions for sick children. The good news is that the whole malaria mess can be fixed in our lifetime. Cue United Against Malaria into the picture.
United Against Malaria (UAM) is a conglomeration of private sectors, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions and governments who have come together to rid the world of malaria once and for all. UAM was born amidst the explosive excitement of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. We rode this crest of energy and used it to create global awareness of malaria.
UAM uses a few key strategies to combat malaria throughout Africa, including educating organizations on malaria-safe practices, distributing mosquito nets (which act to prevent infection), and fundraising for the purchase and wider distribution of nets. Recently, the fundraising arm of UAM expanded to encompass merchandise sales, all in the name of malaria. The United Against Malaria bracelet is a brightly beaded symbol of the cause.
With World Malaria Day around the corner (April 25), UAM has powered up like never before in a huge drive to sell UAM bracelets for mosquito net distribution.
Here in South Africa, Cape Union Mart, Nando’s Chickenland, Exclusive Books, and several other private sector organizations, have risen to the occasion by stocking and selling UAM bracelets. Cape Union Mart has recently stocked 50,000 units to sell in the lead-up to World Malaria Day. Their stock is already thinning out; testament to the energy and involvement of every individual who bought a bracelet.
Also joining the push to sell bracelets is legendary African Explorer Kingsley Holgate. Kingsley has braved drastic terrain as he travelled through virtually inaccessible parts of the African continent to distribute mosquito nets.
As we contemplate World Malaria Day today, , we at UAM experience palpable excitement when we think of the number of nets that UAM bracelet sales will enable us donate. To all you bracelet buyers, past and future, thank you for your heartfelt giving, and for playing an important part in the worldwide plan to eradicate malaria.
Apr 25th, 2012 3:33 PM UTC
By Guest Blogger
Guest blog post by Jessie Seiler from Stomping Out Malaria in Africa
World Malaria Day is today, April 25, which means that Christmas has come in the springtime for those of us working to fight this disease. From Atlanta to Maputo, D.C. to Dakar, New York City to Phnom Penh, we’re looking around at the work being done to end malaria in our lifetimes and realizing that we’ve got a lot to celebrate. I have been lucky enough to spend the last several years watching as the fight against malaria changes, first in a small African village and now as a part of a major initiative to wipe out malaria, and so today is a day of happy memories and joyous expectation for me. Here’s why.
Before I came to the West African country of Senegal as a Peace Corps Volunteer, I didn’t know anything about malaria. During a brief but intense training period, experienced volunteers, Senegalese educators, and local community health workers showered us with the basic information about the disease: it’s characterized by high, cyclical fevers, horrible headaches, and vomiting. A child dies of malaria every minute. Malaria costs Africa $12 billion dollars every year. It’s particularly dangerous for pregnant women and children under the age of 5, which makes malaria seem almost consciously vicious.
And the real kicker? The crazy thing? The fact that fills me simultaneously with rage and hope? Malaria is entirely preventable and treatable. In fact, it was eradicated from the United States – completely wiped out – in 1951.
When I first started to understand these facts about malaria, I was filled with anger. It seemed like a tragedy. I couldn’t learn from the story, just mourn over it. But during the next two years of living and working in a tiny Senegalese village called Ndiago, I realized that we are living in a time of great hope and excitement. New technologies, growing awareness and intelligence, and a fresh zeal to eradicate malaria convince me that we’re about to see the disease’s hold on humanity ended, once and for all.
When I arrived in Ndiago, I started hearing about malaria’s impact on the community there. Everyone in the village of 300 reported having had a recent battle with malaria, or sibuuru, as it’s called in Wolof. But I quickly learned that when the community members said sibuuru, they really meant any malady characterized by headache, fever, and fatigue.
I was amazed. I knew that malaria was a big problem in this part of Senegal, but the people who were suffering from it didn’t have enough information about the disease to tell it apart from the aftermath of a long, hot day of working in the fields. No wonder getting rid of malaria seemed like such an imposing task: we were fighting blind.
In the beginning, I wasn’t much use myself. The first health talk I ever gave in village was about malaria, and it went horribly. Each family in Ndiago sent two women to hear me talk about the signs and symptoms of malaria and to watch me make neem lotion, a mosquito repellent made of cheap or naturally occurring ingredients that are easily available in rural Senegal.
It was a bust.
Having just been installed in the village about two weeks beforehand, I barely spoke enough of the local language, Wolof, to keep myself out of trouble, let alone talk about a complicated disease like malaria. I had made neem lotion before, during our brief but intense time in training, but never before a curious audience, and never by myself. As I poured in the shavings of a bar of soap, which melt in the neem leaf-infused boiling water, an exasperated lady in the front row of the crowd shuffled up to me. Grabbing the large spoon out of my hand and shooing me from the pot, she rolled up her flowing sleeves and started stirring powerfully. Apparently, I needed to be taught how to stir. Watching the soap dissolve, I wondered what exactly I was going to be doing in this village for the next two years. I couldn’t be trusted with the simplest of daily tasks, so it didn’t seem possible that I would be much of a community health educator.
Luckily, and to my eternal wonder and joy, humans get better at things as they go along. I spent two years learning Wolof, getting to know the 300 people who chose to share their village with me, and found out more and more about malaria and the role it plays in the lives of the Senegalese people.
Together, the community taught me what it was, what the members valued, what they wanted from their lives and from each other. They taught me how they saw malaria, what they thought of this threat to their lives, what they knew to do when they got sick. They helped me understand why they couldn’t pay the $4 to buy a mosquito net, even though they knew that sleeping underneath one every night would protect them from being bitten by the mosquitos that spread malaria. They talked about being too scared to go to the health post to seek treatment for a suspected case of malaria when their infant sons and daughters became ill, even though they knew the disease was so dangerous. They surprised me with their knowledge and resources, and saddened me with their matter-of-fact statements about their perceptions of the limitations on their lives.
Over the first two years of my time here, the people of the village turned every idea about public health I had on its head. Not only did I have to learn how to stir a pot of melting soap slivers, I had to start at the absolute beginning when it came to figuring out how health care and malaria prevention education should work. But it was exciting, because as I was learning more about malaria and how to fight it, so was my community. So was the world.
There is a health post in Ndiago, a small hospital with one nurse and a couple of trained community health workers. That’s where the people of Ndiago and the surrounding villages go when they’re seriously ill. But the hospital had no quick and easy way of testing for malaria, so anyone who came in with symptoms that looked like they could be caused by malaria were treated for it. It was an expensive system, but it was the best thing to be done. Better to catch every case of malaria and treat many people for a disease they didn’t have than to let even one patient die when a treatment was available.
The advent of Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs), which came to Ndiago about the time I was getting settled in there, changed everything. With a simple prick of a patient’s finger and a little drop of blood, the nurse could diagnose malaria immediately and start treatment with the appropriate drugs. Not only did the costs associated with malaria in the community begin to drop, but also people became better at recognizing malaria. They knew they could be tested for it, immediately receive treatment, and immediately start to feel better. Now that the people of Ndiago could put a label on their experience, the disease stopped being a mysterious and unpredictable force. These RDTs are becoming more and more widely available everywhere in Africa. For me, for the community of Ndiago, and for the people working to fight malaria all over the world, their presence means that the disease is starting to feel like a more manageable, weaker enemy.
Watching the people of Ndiago get better access to diagnosis and treatment was one thing, but we needed something more. Mosquito nets have long been an important part of malaria control programs across the world, but now we’ve got a super weapon of sorts: nets treated with a long-lasting insecticide. Not only do these nets provide a physical barrier between a sleeper and a mosquito, but they also take out any mosquitos that land and rest on them. Basically, they’re mosquito traps baited by sleeping children.
NGOs, the Senegalese National Malaria Control Program, and other major players all have been pushing these nets for some time now, but the programs of distribution were not coordinated or thorough. Sometimes, distribution campaigns were aimed at pregnant women and children under the age of 5, who are at the greatest risk of dying from malaria. So when these groups were given free nets, other naturally assumed that they were being skipped over because they weren’t at risk. Men and older children continued to get malaria regularly, and so the disease continued to thrive in communities across Senegal even though there were more nets on the ground and in use.
Realizing that there was a better way, a handful of Peace Corps Volunteers joined forces with the local health structure and pioneered what’s now become the standard practice for a distribution: universal coverage of mosquito nets, paired with a comprehensive system of anti-malaria education for the people receiving nets. The nets are designed to last up to five years, and the knowledge about malaria, its symptoms and how to prevent it, will last a lifetime. Instead of giving out nets to pregnant women alone, the new campaign trains health workers to take a census of every sleeping space in the village, whether it’s a bed or a mat on the ground. Those health workers are also charged with talking to families about the symptoms of malaria, what makes it different from other diseases, and how communities can protect themselves from it. Sibuuru is no longer a mystery disease that sneaks children away. We know malaria now, and we know how to fight it.
Today in Senegal, local and international partners have covered or are covering 12 of the 14 administrative regions in the country. Malaria rates are dropping everywhere, and the excitement is growing. An ambitious but realistic program in northern Senegal, where malaria rates are already very low, even aims to stop the transmission of the disease by the end of 2013 using SMS technology and rapid diagnosis and treatment protocols.
All of these amazing changes in the ways we fight malaria make me think of my own progress. I started out knowing very little, like the community of Ndiago. But the more I learned, the more the people of Ndiago learned, and the more the international community learned, the better we became at fighting malaria. This fight is an example of what I love about humanity: we try something, we learn, we improve, and we try again. We’re getting better at this every day, smarter and more committed. It’s an adventure, and it means that malaria is no match for us.
Keep an eye on the people of Ndiago, of Senegal, and of all the other communities that have been ravaged by malaria for so long. You’re going to be amazed by the next few years. Together, we’re going to end malaria. Celebrate with us today, on World Malaria Day, and tomorrow, maybe start thinking about what we should do next.
Feb 14th, 2012 2:31 PM UTC
By ONE Partners
David Kyne, campaign manager of United Against Malaria, explains how African football is taking a stand against malaria. ONE is a founding partner of United Against Malaria.
During the final week of the 2012 Orange Africa Cup of Nations, the continent’s premier football championship, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) committed its support to the fight against malaria by officially endorsing the United Against Malaria (UAM) campaign.
Although preventable and treatable, malaria continues to claim the life of one child every minute. Recognizing the powerful role football can play in educating and protecting fans from this deadly disease, CAF pledged to partner with UAM and use its reach and influence to save lives. This commitment will include distributing educational materials at future soccer tournaments and encouraging fellow football associations and players to use their voices and images in educational outreach.
During the tournament, several footballers helped raise awareness about malaria, delivering prevention and treatment messages in a new series of UAM television public service announcements that aired throughout Africa during the games.
To learn more, visit www.UnitedAgainstMalaria.org
Apr 27th, 2011 11:02 AM UTC
After speaking with Dr. Loucq about the exciting development of the malaria vaccine through the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI), we were thrilled to talk to Dr. John Lusingu, a malaria vaccine researcher at an MVI trial site in Tanzania. Dr. Lusingu discussed the devastating impact of malaria in his community and ongoing research on the ground.
John outside of the newly built state of the art research facility
How has malaria impacted your community?
Malaria’s devastating impact on my community’s children and their families is readily apparent, despite reports that malaria incidence is declining globally. Every single day, children and pregnant women are brought to our local clinics with this terrible disease, and many die from its effects. Beyond malaria’s medical impact, families are affected economically –- even despite free medical treatment for under-fives -– largely due to high transportation costs and lost productivity when sick children require care. Children lucky enough to survive severe malaria often have mental impairments that prevent them from attending school. Older children are also often forced to stay home from school to take care of their sick brothers or sisters so their parents can go work on the farms, especially during farming season.
What is the focus of your research at the trial site in Tanzania?
In Korogwe, I lead a team of investigators who are participating in the multi-center Phase 3 RTS,S malaria vaccine candidate trial across seven countries in Africa. The malaria vaccine candidate has been produced by GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals and supported by the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. We hope that a malaria vaccine will complement existing tools to control malaria in sub-Saharan Africa, including bed nets, indoor residual spraying and treatment with artemisinin based combination therapies. The malaria vaccine candidate, once licensed and made available, could be included in standard immunization programs in malaria-endemic regions of Africa and help save countless lives.
John showing a malaria diagnostic test done on the infant pictured just moments before
How did you get involved in malaria research?
When I was young, I would often go to the farms in the lowland communities near Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania with my parents during rainy season. I would always head back to the mountains at night for fear of being bitten by mosquitoes, which I knew could lead to a disease known as itheng’u by the Pare tribe (translated into malaria). As a result, I never suffered from malaria until the age of 16, when I went to secondary school in the lowland community of Moshi. I had repeated episodes for almost 10 years after my initial infection, after which I did not suffer from malaria for many years. I wondered why this had happened. In my postgraduate medical studies, I researched how to mimic the natural immunity to malaria I had developed and studied whether it could be applied to children. Children born in malaria-endemic communities do not have complete immunity to malaria. But if we can put something in their bodies that can boost their immunity when they are young and most vulnerable to malaria –- like a vaccine –- we can help prevent them from contracting and even dying from the disease.
John examining a patient in the pediatric ward of Korogwe District Hospital
How will this research help improve the livelihood of people in your community?
Once licensed and deployed, the malaria vaccine candidate could complement existing interventions and begin protecting children from malaria and saving lives, which could have a tremendous impact on my community. Children will be able to go to school and parents to work, dramatically reducing the social and economic burdens of the disease.
In the meantime, though, we have also benefited significantly from massive investments in training and infrastructure in the communities where the clinical trial is being conducted. In Korogwe, teams of staff have been trained to conduct trials according to international standards. A fully-equipped modern laboratory that specializes in parasitology, hematology, biochemistry and microbiology has been built and is now fully functioning. Our vaccine ‘cold chain,’ X-ray services, pediatric care, and referral systems have all been enhanced. Important health services are also provided to both participants and non-participants in the trial, and community members’ compliance with treatment and attitudes toward health-seeking behavior have improved.
What message would you like to share with ONE members on World Malaria Day?
Let us join our efforts to help ensure that a malaria vaccine is added to our current arsenal of malaria interventions. A vaccine could complement our existing tools and help further prevent Africa’s children from needlessly dying from this terrible disease.
Dr. John Lusingu, MD, Ph.D is a Principal Research Scientist at the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) in Tanzania and a postdoctoral fellow of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. He is a Principal Investigator for the RTS,S Phase 3 malaria vaccine candidate trial in Korogwe, Tanzania.
Photo credit: John Michael Maas/ Darby Communications
Blog originally posted by Brooke Riley.
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