The Face of Malaria

Elizabeth McKee of the United Nations Foundation
and Nothing But Nets writes a compelling account of seeing the face of malaria
in Angola. Elizabeth, a member of The United Methodist Church, is traveling
with Sam Perkins, Brook Meeks and Ruth Reilly of the NBA Cares to visit bed net
distribution in Nigeria and United Methodist health care in Angola. Her
first-person account from Angola is compelling reading.

(Elizabeth McKee of the United Nations Foundation and Nothing But Nets writes a compelling account of the face of malaria in Angola. Elizabeth, a member of The United Methodist Church, is traveling with Sam Perkins, Brook Meeks and Ruth Reilly of the NBA Cares to visit bed net distribution in Nigeria and United Methodist health care in Angola. Her first-person account from Angola is compelling reading. This blog post was sent by e-mail from Angola. Posting her blog from Luanda is difficult due to unreliable Internet connection.)


The Face of Malaria

Staring malaria in the face is very new to me. The Nothing But Nets program works on malaria prevention through net distribution, not treatment. But we are currently in Angola to see the impact of malaria in an area where there is not a good supply of nets so we truly understand the need. The United Methodist Church has been our host for this portion of our observation trip. They do the most work around malaria prevention and treatment here in Angola.

In Luanda, Angola, floods have displaced thousands of people and caused malaria, a deadly killer, to ravage young people and families. Malaria was long present in Angola, but the standing water and basic sanitation nightmare that has resulted from the floods has created a perfect breeding ground for the worst strain of malaria, called Falsiparun.

The Nothing But Nets team visited the largest hospital in Luanda and the smallest clinic in a nearby village, both overrun with malaria to the point that people are lying on the sidewalks outside with IV’s in their arms. Walking through hospitals are feverish children who are so anemic from malaria that it is too late for ACT treatment to work. It makes me wonder how these children get so far gone before they get care.

The face of malaria looking back at me is a child with yellow eyes and so many flies on their face that I can’t see the opening of their nostrils. Ruth Riley from the WNBA said yesterday, “This experience makes me want to buy nets with every cent I have in my bank account, so none of them have to go through this.”

To the thousands of Nothing But Nets donors: all of your donations are making a difference. I cannot express how important these nets are to children and families in Africa. I wish I could show all of you what you are preventing with your 10 dollar donations. All I can say today from Luanda is Obrigada!

Elizabeth McKee

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