Many of you, and me included, probably didn’t notice let alone know that World Malaria Day just passed by on the 21st of April. With all of the news about the Zika virus, malaria has taken a bit of a back seat lately. However, it might be good to remember that this nasty disease kills around 430,000 people every years and infects another 214 million. I’d say that makes it important enough to get our attention at least one day out of the year.
The primary difficulty with eliminating this kind of illness is the seeming invincibility of the bloodsucking insect that is responsible for spreading it. These guys are still merrily flying around and infecting innocent people with their many mosquito-borne illnesses despite all of the technological advances over the years and the entire world uniting in an effort to stop them from spreading these diseases.
There is one group, however, that seems to be making some headway towards ending malaria for good. Jhpiego, a nonprofit global health affiliate of Johns Hopkins University, is on a mission to defeat malaria. So far they are fighting the good fight in 17 different countries around the world. They are helping people survive it, and, more importantly, prevent it by flooding these places with high-quality malaria services. Jhpiego collaborates with governments, communities, and private partners to quickly develop these malaria services, including training health providers and workers in malaria treatment and prevention, as well as strengthening health facilities in pre-elimination efforts and diagnostic tests that can be used at the community level.
Do you think that organizations like Jhpiego make a large difference in these efforts, or are they throwing money at nothing? Do you think there are enough organizations like this, ones that help people suffering because of these kinds of large scale diseases, and who lack the resources to fight them?