Add malaria to the list…

Don’t worry, the list I’m referring to isn’t illnesses I’ve gotten in Ethiopia. But it’s still a serious list: Diseases my friends have gotten.

Before moving to Ethiopia, I never thought I’d know someone who’d be diagnosed with malaria. Which is why I was shocked to learn that 1,500 cases of malaria are found in the US every year…mostly from people like me who have spent time in malaria risk zones.

But 1,500 doesn’t sound like such a huge number when compared to malaria cases elsewhere. According to the World Health Organization, 85% of malaria cases are found in Africa. And 90% of malaria deaths as well…mostly children under the age of 5. Every 30 seconds a child dies from malaria.

In 2012 there were about 207 million malaria cases worldwide. 176 million of those cases were in Africa. I can personally name two teachers, one principal, and one friend who have gotten malaria in Hawassa during the two years that I’ve been here. Putting names and faces to the disease made it pretty damn real for me.

Which is why I’m supporting Peace Corps’ Stomp Out Malaria initiative. Today is World Malaria Day, but Peace Corps Volunteers have been doing activities all month to raise awareness about malaria.

Later today, I’ll be testing what my English Club students have learned about malaria so far. Do you know as much as my 5th-8th graders? Test your malaria knowledge with my crossword below:

1. This group is most likely to get malaria.
3. Malaria parasites target and destroy this in the human body.
6. When does the mosquito attack humans most?
7. Where should you go if you suspect you have malaria?
8. What insect transmits malaria?
9. Which continent accounts for 90% of malaria deaths?
10. Percentage of the world’s population that is susceptible to malaria.

2. What is the most effective way to reduce malaria transmission?
4. Which season is malaria most common?
5. How often should you sleep under a net?

Check back next week for the answers : )

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