WILLS POINT, TX – The COVID pandemic has taken center stage over the past year. COVID has stepped into the spotlight and upstaged all other diseases that had shared the stage prior to the meteoric rise of this new player in the role of the world’s most nefarious viral villain.
Malaria! Malaria! Wherefore art thou?
During the COVID pandemic, malaria has continued to be endemic to 87 countries around the globe. In laymen’s terms,
- Pandemic is when a disease has spread around the world. The disease threatens everyone everywhere.
- Endemic is when a disease is prevalent in a particular part of the world. The disease threatens everyone in those places.
Pandemic means the disease is everywhere. Endemic means the disease exists somewhere, hopefully not “here.”
When a disease becomes pandemic, it gets the attention of everyone everywhere. When one is endemic, it gets the attention of everyone in the affected areas.
A cure! A cure! My kingdom for a cure!
If you live in a region where a disease like malaria is endemic, its presence is just as personally ominous as if it were a pandemic. Unfortunately, the farther removed we are from the endemic presence of malaria, the less of a threat it appears to be to you and me. Therein lies the rub.
Because malaria is not endemic in North America, and with COVID stealing the show, we who live here are blissfully unaware of the existential threat that malarial still poses for an entire half of the world population.
In effect, for us, malaria does not exist. So, let’s bring up the stage lights to expose the true character of malaria.
- An estimated 229 million people were diagnosed with malaria in 2019.
- Approximately 409,000 of those people died as a result of malaria.
- About 95% of the people who died of malaria lived in 31 of the 87 countries where the disease is endemic.
- 90% of malaria cases and deaths occur in Africa.
- Malaria is the leading cause of death for children under the age of five in sub-Saharan Africa.
- The DRC and Nigeria account for 37% of the entire malaria burden (cases and deaths).
- The South Asian subcontinent accounts for 60% of all malaria cases outside Africa.
- Venezuela has reported “an alarming number of cases” of malaria to the extent that the country has surpassed Brazil as the primary endemic region in South America. It is not yet clear if the increased number of cases has been classified as an epidemic (an outbreak in an endemic region).
What fools these mortals be!
As Shakespeare is reputed to have said, “If the shoe fits . . .” Could we be among those mortals to whom Shakespeare referred?
- We are fools if we forget that the scourge of malaria is still untamed.
- We are fools if we forget that there is still no vaccine to prevent the malaria virus.
- We are fools if we forget that we are to love our neighbors, even though they may live on another continent.
- We are fools if we do nothing to help our neighbors in malaria-endemic regions to lower the risk of contracting malaria through the bite of the female Anopheles mosquito.
We can pray and provide.
Numerous NGOs and FBOs are committed to providing what may be the most effective first line of defense against malaria in the regions where the disease is endemic. That defense is mosquito netting – and it is surprisingly effective and affordable.
Praying regularly for our at-risk neighbors will keep us from forgetting the need. Giving from what the Lord has entrusted to us will help these organizations continue to supply mosquito nets free of charge to families who are in the greatest need.
GFA World is but one of those faith-based agencies that help to protect people from malaria by providing a gift of mosquito netting. Your gift of $10 can help GFA World provide the protection those families so desperately need.
Learn more about how you can help reduce the risk of families in Asia and Africa at this link. If you cannot give, you can pray.