In the early 50’s, Malaria was eliminated from the United States. The mosquito-borne disease, which can have fatal outcomes, is still a problem in other parts of the world, however. April 25 is World Malaria Day, which highlights the continued need for support for malaria prevention and treatment, and this year Katharine McPhee is stepping up to help out the cause.
“Every minute, a child dies from malaria. Every minute. That is pretty stunning. If that was happening in the States, there would be action right away. It would be an epidemic,” McPhee said.
Working with Malaria No More’s campaign, Power of One, McPhee is hoping to help prevent the deadly disease in Africa. Malaria No More aims to provide every African family access to the tools needed to prevent and treat malaria in their communities. The organization has provided mosquito nets to 17 African countries, and the Power of One campaign, launched in the fall of 2013, deploys tests and treatments to the area, to reduce deaths of children caused by malaria.
The organization is donation based, and every dollar donated funds a test and treatment for a child with malaria.
“One dollar, one life, it’s so simple,” says the singer-actress. “We’re hoping we can create a malaria-free zone.”
Originally, McPhee learned about the issue of malaria while funding a preschool in Africa. A family friend told her of the need for the school in the Nioko District of Burkina Faso‘s capitol, Ouagadougou; through their funding, it was opened in 2009. Through emails with the school’s headmaster she learned of the recurring cases of malaria affecting the staff and students. She decided then to “continue to help” with Malaria No More.
McPhee has travelled to Africa with Malaria No More in 2012, visiting the school she helped build, and distributing mosquito nets to the region.
She also promotes the cause back home, speaking to college students this year about Malaria No More’s cause and how they can help.
“The message is that this is a disease that nobody should be living with, and if they do get infected, it’s curable. They just need the right resources,” McPhee said.
Malaria, when left untreated, is a serious disease that can prove fatal, especially in young children. The World Health Organization estimated that, in 2012, over 200 million cases of malaria occurred worldwide; the cases resulted in 627,000 deaths, almost 90 percent of which occurred in Africa. According to the CDC, however, most malaria deaths can be prevented.
This is why Malaria No More and organizations like it are so important. With World Malaria Day this week, helping to treat the disease and prevent malaria-related deaths is as important as ever, with many opportunities for new donors and volunteers to help out the cause.
To help out, go to www.Po1.org to donate a dollar and fund a test and treatment for a child with malaria.
— Matthew Erickson