Malaria Affects Almost Half of the World's Population; New Tool Developed to Fight It

Imagine if a little cube could help save the lives of one million children every year.

E3 Resources, an organization that provides tools for missions and evangelism, has staff in Africa this week working with more than 50 leaders from Kenya and surrounding regions talking about the life-saving possibilities of the MalariaCube.

The cube is a simple tool that is covered with pictures to help raise awareness on the effects of malaria. It can be bent different ways to reveal a variety of pictures, and educate viewers on the causes, prevention, and treatments for the disease.

Humanitarian aid organization World Vision has also partnered with the initiative. Cheryl Jereczek, national director of Regional Development for World Vision, told The Christian Post that the MalariaCube will be piloted in Kenya for six months, and is another tool in the toolbox for fighting malaria.

Malaria is a parasitic disease transmitted to humans through the bite of a female Anopheles mosquito, and is one of the most serious health threats facing the world today. World Vision reports that the disease kills more than one million people, mostly children five years old and younger, per year. It also affects between two and three billion people worldwide.

Malaria is an epidemic in many developing countries, and sub-saharan Africa has the highest rate of death due to the disease.

But there are ways to prevent and treat it, especially though long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs). These nets cover beds where people sleep to keep them from being bitten by mosquitoes at night.

Jereczek told CP that in order to eliminate malaria, there has to be "preventative tools like nets [to] cover those who are in areas where mosquitoes carry the disease." She also said that educating local communities on how they can get and prevent malaria is extremely important. Once people are aware of the causes and effects of the disease, "you can see quickly a reduction in the cases of malaria," she said.

Elizabeth Styffe, director of Global Orphan Care Initiatives for Saddleback Church, said in a released statement that "if our aim is not to fight malaria, but to end malaria, tools like the MalariaCube must be placed in the hands of the local community."

Rachel E. L. Wolff, senior director of World Vision News Bureau, told CP that by combining an educational tool like the MalariaCube with the LLINs, you can successfully fight malaria in many countries. She said World Vision has found that if "you just distribute nets, you're not necessarily going to be successful. We've done studies that show that the education that goes with the net is absolutely critical."

Many people don't always know how to hang it correctly, she noted, or "they understand they are getting sick but may not understand that it's caused by a mosquito. This cube is a tool to go along with the education we're already doing."

World Vision also supports the Roll Back Malaria initiative that is working to reduce global malaria cases 75 percent by 2015.

To do that the relief organization is supporting universal coverage of LLINs. The World Vision website states that the "insecticide in the LLINs kills mosquitoes and serves as a repellant that can decrease the number of mosquitoes in the household. When high community coverage is attained (80 percent), LLINs reduce the mosquito population, decrease transmission, and protect the entire community from malaria."

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