International aid agency World Vision and the Against Malaria Foundation (AMF) have formed a new partnership to better protect children in four African countries from malaria – one of the leading causes of death on the continent.
The initiative, "Operation Safety Net," aims to provide three million insecticide-treated bed nets in Zambia, Kenya, Mozambique and Mali, protecting an estimated 6 million people at risk of contracting a preventable, curable disease that kills more African children than does HIV/AIDS..
"Malaria is decimating the lives of young children today, claiming nearly a million each year," noted Craig Jaggers, World Vision's health policy advisor. "We are working to wipe out this killer, community by community, so we don't lose a generation of children to a disease that is entirely preventable."
According to reports, 350-500 million cases of malaria occur worldwide each year and each day malaria kills 3,000 children. In Africa, where 90 percent of malaria deaths occur, the disease is the number one killer of children.
As malaria is a blood infection caused by a tiny parasite most commonly transferred to people through the bite of a mosquito carrying it, Operation Safety Net will focus its efforts on the large-scale distribution of long-lasting insecticidal nets to all members of a community and not only those most vulnerable to the disease such as children under five and pregnant women.
And through World Vision's established local networks, Operation Safety Net looks to ensure long-lasting insecticidal nets are delivered at the household level, increasing the likelihood of proper net use.
"Ending needless deaths of children from mosquito bites requires putting the tools that we know work into the hands of families and supporting a local response to malaria in vulnerable communities. The partnership between Against Malaria Foundation and World Vision expands this approach in many hard-hit communities throughout sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere," commented Rob Mather, executive director for the Against Malaria Foundation.
"Preventing malaria is not overly complicated and is inexpensive by Western standards, yet for poor families, the few dollars it takes to purchase a net is beyond reach," added Jaggers. "Regardless of age or income level, purchasing a net is one of the easiest things we can do to save the life of a child."
As a result of the partnership with the Against Malaria Foundation, participants in the fight against malaria can help fund a long-lasting insecticidal net (which can cover two people) and essential training on malaria for the cost of only $6.
The public can contribute to Operation Safety Net by visiting www.AgainstMalaria.com/WorldVisionZambia1.