World Malaria Day, is commemorated every year on 25 April to recognise global efforts to control the disease.
Each year the day focuses on a specific theme. This year, that theme is “Invest in the future: Defeat malaria.”
There is a reason for this. Every 60 seconds a child around the world dies from malaria – a disease spread by a single mosquito bite. When combined with HIV/AIDS, malaria is even more deadly, particularly for pregnant women and children.
It is a condition which not only affects people’s health, but also the income levels of those countries where it is widespread. The WHO’s global brief on vector-borne diseases notes that these countries’ income can be two thirds less than those countries without the disease. Therefore it is no surprise that combating malaria forms a key pillar of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals.
So why is this important to the Shining Hope Foundation and our work in Bihar?
It is estimated that approximately 80% of the Indian population is at risk from the disease, which means that malaria puts a lot of strain on the health authorities and it is difficult to treat. With malaria occurring mainly in the forested areas of the country, Bihar is an obvious victim.
There is hope. Simple measures such as using repellent, getting vaccines and sleeping under mosquito nets can make a huge difference.
But even with these preventative measures, infection can still occur. To make a truly sustainable difference, the traditionally minimal number of healthcare facilities in these remote areas has had to be looked at. People need to have access to urgent treatment, in order to recover.
Shining Hope Foundation continues to work hard in partnership with Karuna-Shechen to provide support through medical centres and mobile clinics to test those with malaria, and provide treatment. As a result of the funding that Shining Hope Foundation provides, in the last 12 months, 162 tests have been carried out on those with malaria alone, allowing targeted treatment for those individuals.
We are pleased to be able to support the Shechen medical centre in Bihar so that testing for malaria, as well as a wide range of illnesses, can be provided.
Without your donations, hundreds of people and their families would be blighted by this terrible disease which affects income as well as health, crippling lives and livelihoods. Your continued support is essential to expanding the medical programme so that we can reach more people, and can continue to fight this preventable disease.