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The American Red Cross Joins the Fight Against Malaria


WASHINGTON — The American Red Cross is joining with partners to expand the fight against malaria. Malaria impacts more than 300 million people each year, claiming the lives of approximately 3,000 children every day. While malaria has been effectively eliminated from the United States, it continues to have a devastating impact on communities, especially in Africa.

“Malaria is a disease that is taking the lives of children around the world, and the American Red Cross is responding to this crisis,” said David Meltzer, Senior Vice President for International Services for the American Red Cross. “We are mobilizing Red Cross volunteers in the United States and in Africa to fight this deadly, but preventable disease.”

Over the next two weeks, the American Red Cross will be conducting events and activities in more than 50 cities across the United States. Red Cross volunteers will be helping to raise awareness in communities through parties, bake sales, fundraisers, information sessions and classroom activities. In New York City, the American Red Cross in Greater New York will be holding a “Beat the Bite” fundraiser, an evening complete with African music and food. And the Central Illinois Chapter in Peoria will be displaying a sample insecticide-treated bed net and providing information at schools.

In Africa and other high-risk regions, the American Red Cross is teaming up with partners such as the President’s Malaria Initiative, Malaria No More and the Measles Initiative to provide bed nets to children and families. Through its partner national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, the American Red Cross is working in local communities, teaching families how to properly use bed nets.

“It is not enough to hand out bed nets. We need follow-up activities, like education, to teach families how to properly use nets to prevent the suffering caused by this disease,” said Meltzer. “Over the next two years, the American Red Cross will train thousands of volunteers who, in turn, will educate millions of families how to prevent the spread of malaria.”

To date, the American Red Cross and its partners in the Measles Initiative have supported the distribution of nearly 20 million insecticide-treated bed nets in Africa and Asia. Later this year, the American Red Cross will help to provide more than 1.3 million bed nets in Madagascar, as well as in other countries. The Red Cross often also provides bed nets following international emergencies. In Madagascar, for example, the Red Cross just contributed 10,000 bed nets for people affected by recent cyclones.

It costs less than $10 to make sure that a child or pregnant woman sleeps under a bed net. That’s $10—less than the cost of a movie–to protect a family against this deadly disease.


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