Friday, April 24, 2009

World Malaria Day 2009

A HealthRight staff member demonstrates the
use of long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets
at a community gathering in rural Kenya.  Bed
nets, by protecting against the spread of
malaria, can help save thousands of lives
each year.

Malaria kills over one million people each year, and afflicts as many as half a billion more.

Pregnant women and children are particularly at risk.  Malaria can cause a host of complications during pregnancy, and for small children, the threat is even more acute – of the one million deaths each year caused by malaria, 80% occur among young African children.[1]

In Kenya alone, malaria kills as many as 34,000 children each year, and is the leading cause of death.  Women also bear a disproportionate burden.

HealthRight International is working to address the crisis of malaria in Kenya through its Partnership for Maternal and Neonatal Health, which builds lasting access to maternal and neonatal services and care among isolated communities in the Northern Rift Valley.

HealthRight will distribute over 34,000 bed nets in Kenya.

As part of this project, HealthRight has embarked on a partnership with Population Services International to distribute over 34,000 long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets to women in the Kenya’s Northern Rift Valley, where malaria affects more than 390,000 people.  Beginning on April 15, the nets have been distributed to pregnant women throughout the region.

The bed nets play a significant role in protecting people from malaria, which is spread by mosquitoes.  By sleeping under the nets, women are able to protect themselves at night, when mosquitoes are most likely to bite. Communities are also being educated on the risks of malaria infection, particularly during pregnancy, and in the proper use of the bed nets.                                               

Through its ongoing programs in Kenya, HealthRight will continue to save lives and build lasting solutions to the challenges, like malaria, facing women’s and children’s health.