World Malaria Day was created in 2007 to raise awareness regarding this insidious disease and highlight the need for global mosquito control efforts. Established by the World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the World Health Organization, and commemorated each year on April 25, World Malaria Day consists of a series of events and activities that take place in many areas of the world. Major corporate entities, celebrities and ordinary people all join forces to lend their support to the cause. The 2015 World Malaria Day theme is “Invest in the Future: Defeat Malaria.”
The Scary Truth About Malaria Around the World
While many of us dread the thought of encountering large animals such as bears, sharks and alligators, the world’s deadliest animal is actually smaller than a paperclip. Mosquitoes are said to cause more deaths than any other creature on earth. According to some estimates, mosquito-borne diseases kill as many as one million people around the world each year. In contrast, shark attacks result in about 10 deaths per year.
The deadliest of the mosquito-borne diseases is malaria, an affliction that can cause flu-like symptoms in humans. Severe forms of the disease can cause damage to the heart, lungs, kidneys and brain, resulting in death if not treated promptly.
Here are some essential malaria facts as provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- About 3.4 million people worldwide live in high-risk areas for malaria transmission.
- There were approximately 198 million reported cases of malaria in 2013, resulting in over 500,000 deaths.
- Every 60 seconds, a child dies from malaria.
- Malaria is the third biggest killer of children globally.
- While malaria has essentially been eradicated in the United States, approximately 1,500 to 2,000 cases are reported each year, typically in travelers returning from high-risk regions.
- Malaria is curable and preventable.
Ways You Can Get Involved in World Malaria Day
There are a number of ways you can get involved to support World Malaria Day and raise awareness about this deadly epidemic:
- Donate to Nothing But Nets: Nothing But Nets is a grassroots organization that works with UN partners like UNICEF, the UN Refugee Agency and the World Health Organization. They provide insecticide-treated mosquito netting to countries in Africa that are in desperate need of protection from malaria-infested mosquitoes. By donating just $10 you can send a net and save a life.
- Join the Power of One effort: Malaria No More is a nonprofit organization with a mission to end malaria deaths in Africa. Their Power of One campaign asks for a $1 donation to send 1 life-saving malaria test and treatment to Africa to save 1 child’s life.
- Attend an event: There are many events taking place around the world, both on World Malaria Day and all throughout the month of April, to help raise awareness about malaria and World Malaria Day. Find out if there’s an event near you.
- Host your own World Malaria Day event: Stage an awareness or fundraising event in your local area. Imagine No Malaria has tons of free downloadable event guides and activity templates. You can also get stickers, pledge cards and more shipped to your location. Don’t forget to submit your event to the World Malaria Day events map!
Don’t Forget to Protect Your Family Against Mosquitoes
While malaria isn’t a serious problem in the U.S. or Canada, the mosquitoes in North America do carry a number of diseases that can pose a health risk to your family and pets. Learn more about how a Mosquito Magnet® trap can defend you from the bloodsucking parasites.
Do your part to help eradicate malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases around the world. Get involved with World Malaria Day!
(photo via Gates Foundation)