PH joins anti-malaria campaign for AfricaBy Charles E. Buban
Philippine Daily Inquirer
“Nothing But Nets” is a global campaign that raises awareness and at the same time, seeks funding to fight malaria in sub-Saharan Africa, a region where 85 percent of all malaria cases as well as 90 percent of all malaria deaths in the world occur.
Since 2006, contributions raised went to the purchase and distribution of bed nets and education of communities on its use. These insecticide-treated bed nets are simple and cost-effective. When used properly, they can prevent malaria transmission by up to 90 percent.
Bed nets work in two ways: They stop mosquitoes from biting at night and spreading the disease, and the insecticide on the net kills the mosquitoes when they land, preventing them from flying on to find their next victim.
For this year, donations have already reached $40 million (P1.63 billion) or the equivalent of over 7 million nets. This year’s effort hopes to surpass the more than 66 million bed nets delivered last year or even break the feat in 2010 when 145 million nets were delivered.
Even if hundreds of millions have already been donated since 2006, continuous supply is necessary as one bed net lasts only two to three years or 20 washes (effectivity of insecticide diminishes and eventually disappears) and its size could only cover two to four individuals.
Bringing this worldwide campaign to our shores is the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Philippines, the organization tasked by the United Nations Foundation to help support Nothing But Nets here.
“What is ironic is that this terrible disease is very preventable. Something as simple as a kulambo or mosquito net can go a long way in saving lives,” said JCI Philippines Nothing But Nets 2013 project chair Jaeger Tanco.
He related that the campaign for Africa is crucial because malaria problem in the continent is considered out of control—African countries face a $7-billion (P286-billion) funding gap to control and eliminate malaria.
According to Tanco, for this year JCI Philippines is hoping to improve the accomplishment last year when they were able to raise $10,000 (P400,000 or the equivalent of about 1,000 nets.
He said: “Malaria has already been declared under control and even eliminated in most parts of world, but out there in Africa, infections from malaria continue to destroy hundreds of thousands of lives. This is why every effort to fight this disease counts.”
Malaria is spread by the bite of an Anopheles mosquito. The mosquito transfers the malaria parasite, called Plasmodium, from person to person. People get very sick with high fever, diarrhea, vomiting, headache, chills and flu-like illness.
Because children under 5 years old have very little acquired immunity to resist, their malaria infection could worsen rapidly, causing coma and death. Globally, 86 percent of the victims were children under 5 years of age, according to the World Health Organization.
In 2010, there were an estimated 216 million cases of malaria in 106 endemic countries and territories in the world (including the Philippines). However, this figure is being challenged by a research published in British medical journal the Lancet that found that an estimated 1.24 million people died from malaria in 2010 about twice the figure of 655,000 estimated by WHO for the same year.
Southeast Asia is the second most affected region in the world with an estimated 24 million cases per year.
To make the campaign more appealing to Filipinos, JCI Philippines partnered with one of its affiliates, the Philippine Life (both are part of STI Education System Holdings).
Philippine Life will provide donors who will give P2,000—the equivalent of four mosquito nets—a Dengue Rx Plan that allows them to reimburse dengue-related hospitalization expenses incurred (doctor’s bills, medicine, hospital bills) for up to P30,000.
Dengue Rx Plan coverage is good for one year and plan holders could even reimburse their expenses to any of Philippine Life’s 24 branches nationwide (including Zamboanga, General Santos, Tuguegarao, Vigan and Baguio).
Tanco said: “We are killing two birds with one stone as dengue fever, another disease transmitted by a mosquito bite, is a year-round threat here in the Philippines. As of March 30, 2013, dengue cases stand at 23,615 with 104 deaths (over 70,000 Filipinos were afflicted with dengue last year).”
Donations for the JCI Philippines Nothing But Nets 2013 campaign may be deposited through BDO Quezon Avenue Heroes Hills Branch savings account number 20101869462013 (under account name Junior Chamber International Philippines Inc.—Nothing but Nets).
To avail himself/herself of the free Dengue Rx Plan coverage, the donor of P2,000 will only have to e-mail email@example.com the following information: complete name, birthday, deposit slip reference number and e-mail address where the policy should be sent.
Within two weeks, the Dengue Rx Plan will be delivered via e-mail. JCIP may be reached at 0917-5887528 for more inquiries while the Philippine Life at phillife.com.ph/dengue to know more about the Dengue Rx Plan.