March 15, 2004

MALARIA IN AFRICA: Fiona Kobusingye-Boynes writes:

Malaria is a great enemy of development, as it makes young and energetic people sick and weak — and even kills them. It strikes quickly, leaving people unable to work or go to school or take care of their families, within days after they get infected.

Fighting malaria is not only a humanitarian need. It is also economically important, both for the developing countries and for aid providers like the United States. Something most people don’t realize is that the same African countries that are most infected by malaria are also the poorest ones on our continent. That is because the disease makes so many millions of people in those countries too sick and weak to earn a living or cultivate their fields.

I myself have suffered high fevers for days, vomited until I thought I had no stomach left. It has left me dehydrated, thirsty and weak, and sometimes I could not even tell day from night. It is a terrible disease. You just can’t imagine.

People in the north, in the United States and Europe, always think of AIDS when they think of troubled Africa. They should remember that malaria is even more important for many tropical countries. It affects more people, kills more, and kills them more quickly. And it makes them sicker than AIDS does, until that disease is very advanced in their bodies.

Read the whole thing.

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