Islamic Relief Helps Fight Disease in Africa - IRUSA

BUENA PARK, CA (December 14, 2006) – The White House will convene an important summit on malaria on Thursday, December 14. The deadly disease is killing over one million people every year. In the global fight to eradicate malaria, Islamic Relief has implemented projects in three African countries to reduce mortality and protect vulnerable populations.

Long eradicated in developed countries such as the United States, malaria still kills 1.2 million people each year. Affecting mostly sub-Saharan Africa, children, pregnant women, displaced persons, and refugees are some of the most vulnerable groups with high-risks of contracting malaria.

In Africa, approximately 3,000 people – mostly children and infants – die as a result of malaria every day. Malaria kills a person every 30 seconds in Africa.

The fact that malaria is not a deadly disease in the developed world is evidence that with proper treatment and resources, it can be easily combated in high risk regions like Africa. In its efforts to combat malaria in Africa, Islamic Relief has carried out efforts in three countries to help the affected populations.

In the Blue Nile State of Sudan, malarial disease is one of the major problems which increase mortality rates in the region. In response to this crisis, Islamic Relief has implemented a community-managed initiative where community members are trained to handle all the tasks and related activities of combating the disease by themselves with minimal supervision. Since the majority of mosquito bites occur at night, insecticide treated bed nets are very effective in preventing malaria. Islamic Relief distributed 1,000 mosquito bed nets during May of this year in the region. Islamic Relief’s approach has not only helped saved lives, but has empowered and trained the affected communities to help themselves.

In the Afder zone of Ethiopia, Islamic Relief’s Health and Nutrition Recovery program distributed insecticide-treated mosquito nets to lactating and pregnant mothers registered in the supplementary and nutritional program. This effort helps protect one of the most vulnerable groups from being infected with malaria.

In Warrap, Kenya, Islamic Relief’s Primary Healthcare Center is doing its part to combat the epidemic in the region. Islamic Relief, in conjunction with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has distributed 5,000 bed nets to protect individuals from contracting malaria. The Center also treats thousands of people every month for malaria related illnesses.

Listed among the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals, fighting malaria is a major international responsibility that can bring achievable success in eradicating the disease. Just as malaria has become an insignificant harm in developed countries, the same result can be achieved in other still-infected areas like sub-Saharan Africa.

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