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World Malaria Day: How a Mosquito Net Can Save a Child’s Life

For the first time in 10 years, global malaria cases are no longer falling.

how a mosquito net can save a life

Mosquito nets at work around the world

We’re right with you in thinking it’s an outrage that in 2016, there were an estimated 445,000 deaths from malaria globally. And the situation is worsening: for the first time in 10 years, global malaria cases are no longer falling.

You want to play your part in preventing this tragedy, but does a mosquito net really make a difference?

Mosquito net facts:

  • Long-lasting insecticide treated mosquito nets are a simple and cost-effective intervention against malaria.
  • Insecticide treated nets can avert around 50% of malaria cases and reduce all-cause child mortality by approximately 18%.

A mosquito net can not only impact one child, but an entire family. As these stories testify, you can protect a vulnerable child by buying them a mosquito net.

Mosquito net stories from Rwanda

“I was always admitted to the hospital at least once or twice a month because I was suffering from malaria,” says 16-year-old Samuel from Kinazi, Rwanda. “It was a tough time for my family because they always had to have shifts of who was to stay at the hospital or home to take care of me.

I often missed school because I was sick and this affected my grades. I would not even get the opportunity to play with my friends as I was always weak.

“I am so happy today because I and my young brother Isaac sleep under a treated mosquito net. We no longer suffer from malaria. We attend school as normal and we are all healthy as a family. I am healthy as well as my brother, so we get enough time to study and play together. My grades have improved and I feel that my dreams will be fulfilled.

mosquito net for bed

“I wish to thank my parents and the project staff who devoted their time to see that I’m healthy today. I’m also thankful to my sponsor I have seen life in our family change for the better thanks to the support we receive from my sponsor.”

Buy a mosquito net for a child in poverty and protect a young person like Samuel. Donate to our Health Respond Fund today. Just £7.46 could buy one insecticide-treated mosquito net for a child in Rwanda. 

Buy a mosquito net for a child in poverty

Mosquito net stories from Uganda

“If you went to the hospital, to the nearest health centre that we have here, out of the ten people that you will find there, seven have malaria. Many die unnoticed because, one, the health centres are far away from the homes around. Two: the treatment is unaffordable because their income, the levels of income are very low here.” Compassion project director, Makindu, Uganda:

“I know many people who have died because of malaria. We recently buried my neighbour. She died from malaria. My stepmother died of malaria, and my sister’s child also died.

“Our mosquito nets keep us safe. They stop us from getting bitten and contracting malaria. They care about us and our children, so they give us a lot of help. They helped me with transportation so that I could take my child to the hospital to receive treatment.

“If Compassion wasn’t here, my child would have certainly died. We feel very much protected and secure because they’re here to help every time it’s needed.” Busingye Betty, local mother:

The job [fighting malaria] is not yet done. Today there are millions still at risk, economies held back and a child's life needlessly taken every two minutes from this disease. This is why I am championing a new Commonwealth commitment to halve malaria across member countries by 2023.  - Prime minister Teresa May

Mosquito net stories from Togo

In 2016 in the town of Amlamé, about 100 miles outside of Togo’s capital, Lomé, 60 children a year were dying of malaria. Recognising a crisis escating, Compassion projects worked hand-in-hand with medical staff to save children’s lives.

“I did a study on malaria in Amlamé, and I came to realise that people didn’t understand the disease,” explains Julien Tchakpana, the former principal health worker of the district hospital.

“They thought they could fight the number-one killer of their children with local treatment. They didn’t even think about going to hospital when their children had seizures. Thus, many children died every year.”

Since Compassion began opened four projects in the area in 2016, no registered children have lost their lives to malaria. Children have been given mosquito nets for their beds and extensive malaria-prevention training programmes have been rolled out.

malaria treatment in Togo

For Grace, the project has literally been a life-saver. She experienced malaria fevers and anemia twice a month. Her parents had spent a lot of money trying to save her and were about to give up when they heard about the medical check-ups on offer through the Compassion project.

Now, the doctors keep Grace under close observation and she is treated quickly whenever she displays malaria symptoms.

“If the project had not come to my rescue, my child would have been buried a long time ago,” says Yawa Abuga, Grace’s grandmother.

The great news is it’s within your power to help stop the spread of malaria. Reducing malaria means communities are healthier, economies are stronger, and children don’t miss school.

You can help support families like Muechit by giving them vital access to a long-life insecticide treated mosquito net.

Give a mosquito net

Mosquito net stories from Thailand

While most of Thailand is malaria-free, the disease is rampant on the Thailand-Myanmar border. Dense forests and wet rice fields act as breeding grounds for mosquitos. The region is home to extremely vulnerable families who simply don’t have access to healthcare systems capable of monitoring or eliminating malaria.

mosquito nets for beds

28-year-old Nawkawpaw knows this reality only too well. She vividly remembers contracting malaria as a 10-year-old.

“I walked with my uncle to a temporary refugee camp in Karen State, near the border of Thailand. I received help from a Karen doctor and he gave me medicine for treatment. It was around a 10-kilometre walk and I had to walk a very long way to reach help. I felt very sick and tired walking on a hot day, and we also had to cross the river to reach the doctor.”

Nawkawpaw is so grateful that her son will never have the same experience.

“I remember that day when I was sick. I think back on it now. How I wish that there was a Compassion project nearby when I was a child. I am so thankful that my children now have better help than I did. Their intervention has supported me with my children’s health.”

Nawkawpaw’s local Compassion project runs malaria prevention training twice a year. In preparation for the rainy season the project also works together with local Thai health government officials to visit every home in the community and identify malaria risks.

Protect a vulnerable child by buying them a mosquito net>

Malaria and mosquito net facts

How do mosquito nets work?

Mosquito nets act as a physical barrier preventing mosquitoes from accessing your sleeping area. The polyester mesh netting prevents tiny insects from entering.

Treated mosquito nets are significantly more effective at preventing malaria than untreated nets. According to Professor Janet Hemingway from The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, "an untreated net gives you only 10% of the protection of a treated one". Compassion is committed to distributing long-life insecticide treated nets to children and families at risk of malaria.

Malaria facts:

  • Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. It is preventable and curable.
  • Globally an estimated 3.2 billion people are at risk of being infected with malaria, with 1.2 billion at particularly high risk.
  • The number of malaria deaths in children is estimated to have decreased by 29% since 2010, but malaria remains a major killer of children.
  • In 2015, approximately 90% of global cases of malaria – and 92% of global deaths from malaria – were in the WHO African Region.

Sources: WHO World Malaria Report, BBC, Malaria experts fear disease's resurgence, Malaria Consortium 


WORDS : Becca Stanley

PHOTOS : Compassion International



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