Mali: Canadian Red Cross takes the bite out of malaria
The Canadian Red Cross has been helping take the bite out of malaria since 2003 by delivering over 3 million free nets to seven countries in Africa. This work is made possible through the generous support of the Canadian International Development Agency and individual donors. During these net distributions, children under five also receive a measles vaccination, vitamin A, and de-worming medicine from international partners.
Namugenyi Kiwanuka knows first-hand how deadly malaria is, which is why she is helping Red Cross share its message. The former Much Music VJ and host of Rogers Sportsnet's NBA XL recently contracted malaria during a trip to Sierra Leone on behalf of Journalists for Human Rights.
"It's ironic because I took all of the precautions but I still got sick. Malaria almost cost me my life," says Kiwanuka. "It's frustrating knowing that children who are most at risk do not have access to preventative measures or safe treatments. What happened to me, happened for a reason and through my story I'm hoping that Canadians will want to make a difference."
While the Canadian Red Cross has helped prevent malaria for hundreds of thousands of children across Africa, help is still urgently needed. Every $7 donation buys a mosquito net and helps save a life.
Long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets form a protective barrier around families at night and kill malaria-carrying mosquitoes on contact. Children under five have little or no immunity to the disease and are most at risk. A child can die of malaria within 24 hours of being bitten by a mosquito. Malaria is the leading cause of death for children under five in Africa, killing 3,000 children every day.
"Malaria is a tragic reality for more than 2.6 billion people around the world and there is no vaccine," says Jane McGowan, Canadian Red Cross president. "Perhaps the greatest tragedy is that malaria can be prevented by sleeping under a $7 bed net, but the people most likely to be exposed to the disease simply do not have the money to purchase a net."
Canadians wishing to support these activities are encouraged to donate online at www.malariabites.net, calling toll-free 1-800-418-1111 or by contacting their local Canadian Red Cross office. Cheques should be made payable to the Canadian Red Cross, earmarked "Campaign Against Malaria" and mailed to the Canadian Red Cross National Office, 170 Metcalfe Street, Suite 300; Ottawa, Ontario; K2P 2P2.
The Canadian Red Cross is a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, which includes the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Committee of the Red Cross and 185 national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Our mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity in Canada and around the world.
For more information, to access to high quality footage and photos, or to arrange an interview with a Canadian Red Cross representative in Madagascar, Mali or Canada, please call the media line at: (613) 740-1994.