Caledonia Moms Take On Malaria

According to the World Bank's International Development Association ' no continent suffers the ravages of malaria more than Africa. And in Africa, no country bears more of malaria's burden than Zambia.' It kills more children under the age of 5 than any other disease or illness and there is no vaccine. Driven by this information, the hearts of some Canadian mothers, the Moms Group at Caledonia Presbyterian Church, determined to make a vital difference in the lives of their friends, the mamies in Mbayi, worked in earnest to raise funds for mosquito nets, to provide a barrier between families and this fearsome disease. I've been in hospital and heard the anguished wail of a young mother whose infant just succumbed, a heartbreaking sound that lingers within me. Malaria is responsible for up to 40% of under 5 years and 20% of maternal mortality.

Busy moms with young children, these caring Caledonia women put together a Mom to Mom sale which also included vendors of hand made items and baked goods who rented tables for the event, made candy kabobs, created a Gift Basket that attracted free will donations and also held a yard sale! Linda, their leader, was interviewed on local radio and for an area newspaper in order to advertise for this compassionate endeavour. And it was a great success raising $1,000.00- enough for the purchase of 166 mosquito nets!!!!!

Malaria transmission occurs throughout the year with a peak during the rainy season which stretches from November to April. So the mamies here were thrilled to receive this abundance of nets, a gift bringing great relief to a community constantly worried about contracting this parasitic disease that can progress to coma or death. Many times over the last two years I've been brought to (and transported to a health care facility) people sick with malaria, unable to walk, so advanced that medication needed to be administered intravenously, so anemic that blood transfusion was required! It is important to seek treatment immediately but the people in this remote, impoverished area often just don't make it to the clinic so far away.

These mosquito nets, a prevention tool, will be protection for many mothers and babies, children and their dads as they slumber, thanks to moms who cared from a great distance. An estimated 4.3 million cases of malaria are clinically diagnosed per year, 50,000 resulting in death, 50% of those- children under the age of 5. Plasmodium Falciparum, the parasite transmitted by mosquitos in Zambia, causes the most fatal and medically severe form of malaria. I thank God for all those at Caledonia Presbyterian Church and the surrounding community for providing these nets and ultimately saving lives.

For more blogs referring to malaria in Mbayi go to Gifts of Warmth- March 10, 2011 , Consequences of Poverty- May 26, 2011 and A New Year of Health and Hope - Jan. 5 2012.