Thursday, September 25, 2008

Nothing But Nets

I contracted malaria in 1985 and had recurring bouts of it for years afterwards. Every year (I got it about the same time every year), I felt as if I would have preferred death rather than endure the torture of the high fever, chills, vomiting and diarrhea which lasted for a week. It all came from a mosquito bite which swelled up my shoulder and made me look like a female hunchback of Notre Dame. To add to the joy, there was one other side affect which came from the prolonged high fever; I lost about 40% of my hair. Since you never know which mosquito is the one carrying the disease, it is imperative that you do all you can to prevent mosquito bites, and that you take the correct medication if you contract it (better yet take an anti-malarial drug before you travel). These days I cover my entire body with mosquito repellent every time I go anywhere mosquitoes live (one time I forgot to apply behind my ears and I got bitten!), and I sleep under mosquito nets whenever possible.

Thankfully I was not a child when I got malaria, because children do not always survive. So is a child's life worth $10? All you have to do is buy a mosquito net (treated with insecticide) for them so that they will not get bitten and infected with malaria. Nothing But Nets will ship and install the nets to the places most affected by malaria for only $10 per net (they last an average of 4 years). About 3,000 children a day die from malaria, so just sending one net will help eradicate the problem from our planet.

Several schools are getting involved in drives to send nets to Africa (the continent where this is the biggest problem right now). If children are helping children, shouldn't we help them?

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