Thanks to your generosity, NETwork Against Malaria purchased 6,000 bed nets this spring for school-going children in the schools surrounding Katulikirie run by one of NETwork’s Ugandan Directors, Francis Banura. In Uganda, 40% of school-going children have malaria at all times making malaria the largest cause of preventable absenteeism. This fact is significant because education is the only way that the children of Katulikirie can escape their current poverty.
The children in Katulikirie are sons and daughters of sustenance farmers living off the land. They are so poor that they wear the same clothes every day, they do not have enough money for shoes on their feet, and they certainly do not have enough money for treatment for malaria.
When the children get malaria, they miss school, fall behind, and if their malaria becomes serious enough they are left mentally debilitated and can even die. Preventing malaria illness with bed nets is the first step in protecting the children from this illness, and the nets help them stay in school, so that they may have the opportunity to make a better life for themselves and their children.
Thank you again for your support. Below you will see the pictures of lives you have changed.
NETwork Against Malaria is currently very busy undertaking several projects. First, we have begun our annual local art contests in cities throughout the country including New York City and Omaha. Watch for winning entries or see how to submit a piece of work at: http://networkagainstmalariaartcontest.blogspot.com/
Next, we are preparing for our largest distribution ever in the coming weeks. Watch for pictures and video of the distribution to come. Our goal over the next several years is to cover all 30,000+ children who attend the schools overseen by one of our volunteers.
Finally, we continue to develop our curriculum for students and adults interested in learning about malaria, the children we serve, and how they are impacted by malaria and our work. Watch our newest animated video about why malaria bednets save lives and impact communities. Visit this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bPL72fwh-0 to watch the video.
Thank you so much for your continued support!
Thank you to all the NETwork Against Malaria supporters. Sekukkulu or Christmas is an important holiday and an important time in Uganda where people do not exchange gifts, but gather for food and celebration. My friends in Uganda are already wishing their family and friends a Merry Christmas. As you celebrate the holiday season, please remember our friends in Uganda where malaria "season" is all year around.
During the summer of 2011 while on a school sponsored research-directed trip to Uganda, I witnessed cases at the pediatric acute care unit at Mulago Hospital, the largest public hospital in Uganda where treatments and diagnostics are limited due to poor funding and poverty. The underlying cause of many comas, anemia, and even low birth weight is - malaria.
One of the cases I most remember during my stay in Uganda is that of six-year-old Sarah. Her father carried her into the room, stiff and moaning, her arms clenched, eyes wide open, her large pupils stared at nothing. What grade was she in? "P3", (third grade) her father answered. How long ago? "Three weeks." It was hard to image three weeks ago, this child attended third grade. Today, her Glasgow Coma Score is 3. Three weeks ago she was ok? "Yes, she was a little scared of animals, but she was okay."
This summer I travelled on dirt paths to villages that cannot be found on maps to distribute insecticide treated nets. I met girls in schools and families living in 10 foot huts who benefited from NETwork Against Malaria bed net distributions in years past. The region where we currently distribute nets is considered a region of "very high" endemicity by the CDC, and it is also extremely poor. I spoke with girls and families who had received our nets. They all said the same thing - they aren't getting malaria anymore. It is "reduced to 0 percent", keeping girls in school,helping parents escape from poverty and provide food for teir children, and most importantly,preventing avoidable deaths.
In the process of distributing the nets,people invited me into their homes and communities. In one village a group of children gathered and sang for me for three hours. I sat on a tree stump while they danced, taught me to dance and I learned their names... Koskova, Margaret, Samuel... I could not help but remember Sarah. I thought that if only she had had a bed net to sleep under . . she would be safe and perhaps dancing or playing under the same sun under which I also sat.
We are now in the process of raising funds to buy bed nets for Koskova, Margaret, Samuel, and thousands of the village children, Today, thousands of miles away I hope that they will enjoy Sekukkulu , that they are safe, and not perish from malaria. Thank you for your continued support.
I had the pleasure of meeting the 1000 children who received our malaria nets summer 2011. Check out this video and see your impact!
I am updating you from Kampala, Uganda where I have been researching cancer for the past 5 weeks. I was sponsored by my medical school to work on a research project at a hospital here, and in my free time I am shadowing in a pediatric acute care unit. Two days into my shadowing experience, I lost count of the cases of malaria I had seen somewhere around 40. That is what one doctor in one hospital sees in Uganda in 2 days. 37 days into my shadowing experience, I cannot tell you how many cases of malaria have come through our doors, but I can tell you that malaria has been the most prevalent diagnosis in our acute care unit since I have arrived.
A typical malaria case is similar to that of baby Joseph. He came to us today on his first birthday after two weeks of vomiting, high fevers and beginning today convulsions. He tested positive for malaria, not such a fun birthday present. The vomiting left him severely malnourished…his belly was distended, and his ribs protruded from his skin. He was severely dehydrated, so two doctors and three nurses struggled to insert an IV into his tiny arms, feet, or head until a fourth nurse succeeded. He was so listless, that his cries were barely audible. His mother looked very distraught. She spoke no English, so I tried to talk to her in Luganda (the language here).
“Oli Otya, Nyabo?” (How are you?), but the mother didn’t answer. She tried to muffle her sobbing.
According to the World Health Organization, 39,000 people get malaria in Uganda every day which means that there are 39,000 people with the same story as baby Joseph right now and 39,000 more will wake up to the same story tomorrow. Today, 274 people died of malaria in Uganda, including a child in our ward suffering from perhaps the worst complication of malaria, cerebral malaria.
I arrived to the ward after the doctor had already begun examining the patient. A six year old girl, Sarah, lay moaning on the exam table, her arms clenched, eyes wide open, her large pupils stared at nothing. What grade was she in? “P3,” (third grade) her father answered. How long ago? “Three weeks.” It was hard to imagine three weeks ago, this child had been normal. Today, she didn’t understand our talking to her, didn’t look at anyone, and she didn’t even respond to pain. Three weeks ago she was ok? “Yes, she was a little scared of animals, but she was okay.”
“Her arms are clenched like that because of lesions in her brain.” The doctor told me. They have already given her antimalarials at another hospital, so there is nothing that we can do but try to relieve her pain…
Since I have arrived in Uganda, 1,433,000 people have gotten sick with malaria and 10,138 people have died of the disease. That’s after only 37 days. One way to help with this problem is to prevent malaria infection in the first place.
Last Friday, I rode two hours to a lush, green, and hilly area of Uganda called Hoima. I helped our Ugandan volunteers deliver 1000 mosquito nets to grade school children at the Hoima Cathedral school. The school has about 1000 children including many children with special needs—the deaf, blind, and mentally impaired. I had the opportunity to speak with the children to ask them if they had had malaria, if they had missed school because of malaria. They had. If they owned a mosquito net…no one did, but last Friday that changed. We won’t be treating those children on our wards. Instead, they can teach others about malaria nets and they can stay in school so that when they are adults they can afford to buy their children mosquito nets and help break the cycle of poverty and illness…
We couldn’t do it without you. Thank you for your support.
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