Our blog series“5 Days, 5 Facts, 5 Reasons to Act” today highlights progress in the fight against malaria, a Millennium Development Goal priority.
Thanks to global efforts to fight malaria, such as distributing bednets that protect families from the mosquitoes that carry the disease, malaria mortality rates have decreased by 47% worldwide and by 54% in sub-Saharan Africa since 2000.
However, despite major progress, malaria still remains a major global health threat. Every 60 seconds, a child dies of malaria. Malaria often means that sick children have to miss school and sick parents have to miss work. The burden is greatest in sub-Saharan Africa, where an estimated 90% of all malaria deaths occur.
Refugees and displaced people forced to flee their homes are especially vulnerable. That’s why the UN Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign has launched “The Million Nets Pledge” to protect refugee families in sub-Saharan Africa from malaria with 1 million bednets by 2016.
Together with its UN partners, Nothing But Nets has delivered more than 9 million nets to families since 2006. Reaching refugees and displaced people with bednets is essential to their health and to the global effort to continue #MDGmomentum. Here’s an example of what a bednet can mean for a family.
Located in southwest Uganda, the Nakivale Refugee Settlement run by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is home to more than 74,000 refugees and asylum-seekers from surrounding sub-Saharan African countries.
32-year-old Aline lives in Nakivale with her husband and two young children after fleeing conflict in their home community in the Democratic Republic of Congo. While her family escaped violence, they still face the threat of malaria. Last year, there were more than 63,000 cases of malaria at Nakivale, and it’s the leading cause of illness and death among children under 5.
Through a dedicated group of partners and supporters working to end malaria, Aline’s family received bednets to protect themselves from malaria at night. “I’m very scared from malaria,” Aline said. “This is why I always use the nets.” Once they began using nets, she noticed her family became healthier.
Photo credit: Corentin Fohlen/Nothing But Nets
After everything refugees have been through, they should not have to worry about a deadly mosquito bite.