July 23rd, 2019
In low-income countries, a child bitten by a mosquito carrying a malaria parasite often doesn’t have access to the proper health services to receive treatment, and the child’s parents may not even recognize the true meaning behind the child’s symptoms.
Antimalarial medications have been available for years to treat those infected with the disease. Traditionally, those with malaria who are properly treated can expect a full recovery. But over time, the antimalarial drugs have become less effective as the malaria parasites have developed resistance to the medications.
Antimalarial drugs are not a sustainable malaria control solution due to the high cost and negative side effects that come from long-term use. Plus, with malaria being so common, a fever is sometimes the only symptom used to diagnose a case of the disease. When a patient is given an antimalarial medication unnecessarily, it reduces already limited resources and further contributes to development of drug-resistant parasites.
The best strategy for reducing the incidence of malaria is to prevent an infection in the first place. And the most-effective way of reducing the initial transmission is through the use of insecticide-treated bed nets.
Distributing malaria nets to children and adults most at risk of contracting the disease ensures everyone receives the protective benefit the nets offer, which strengthens the health of the entire community.
A child’s health must be tenaciously protected. Childhood is characterized by freedom, play, and hopeful futures full of potential. These pillars of childhood are stripped away when sickness and dangerous diseases such as malaria threaten a child’s life.
In the gospels, Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan who advocated for the well-being of a man in need and ensured that this stranger was brought to good health. When asked, those listening to Jesus’ parable pointed to the Samaritan as an example of what a good neighbor looks like. In Luke 10:37, Jesus instructed them to “go and do likewise” (NIV). Where there are people in need, the gospel message instructs us to be a source of help, care, and provision.
Our Malaria Intervention Initiative gives poor children and their families resources for healthy living and malaria prevention. It includes: