It is World Malaria Day today. A day established in 2008 as an expansion of what started in Africa 7 years earlier as Africa Malaria Day. On paper, it is a day designed to assess the progress that has been made in the global attempt at eradicating the menace of malaria in predominantly African communities, and reducing if not stop altogether, mortality in the hands of malaria.
And it brought to mind the question – why do we actually have these ‘Days’?
World Health Day. World Nutrition Day. World AIDS Day. World Malaria Day now. And I am sure very soon, someone will come up with the grand design of a World COVID-19 Day!
Is it just paying lip service to a menace that is harming the global population? Or are we actually seeing progress?
Malaria is harmful, and sad. Where it rages the most, the consequences are lethal….fatal.
We have had the disease for many years. We have known what causes it for many years. We have the treatment (or so we think). And we have the vaccines.
Yet, every 2 minutes, one child is dying of this disease, somewhere in the world.
This means that, somewhere in the world out there (most likely in Africa), 3 or 4 young lives have gone in the time it has taken me to have typed this much of my piece to you.
That is a lot.
And it begs the question – what is left to be done? What is keeping us from doing what is left to be done? Are we winning the war against Malaria? Or are we leaving it to continue to kill people….perhaps because it is not affecting western economies?
We have a plague in today’s world. Everyone knows it – Coronavirus. It has brought the world to near standstill. People are dying. Economies are crippled. Businesses are folding on a daily basis. And everyone that can do something is running helter, running skelter, looking for a cure and a vaccine.
Because it affects us all, the effort towards finding a solution to COVID-19 is global, and is collective. And so it should be. We do want our lives back.
But I do ask, and I appeal thus: can we double or even quadruple our efforts as well towards eradicating the harmful and dangerous effects of Malaria? Yes it affects Africa, and it affects the ones we see as the ‘poor parts’ of Africa. But they are humans as well. And they do not deserve to be at the mercy of mosquitoes!
There are, in these slums, potential leaders of tomorrow. We have had leaders raised from places like these before. We can have many more.
But we must also do our bit to try and save those parts from dying away, and allow them fulfil their potential to the fullest possible.
That, at least, we owe mankind.
Let us all agree that Zero Malaria Must Start with each of us.
Let these ‘Days’ actually have meaning!