on malaria

there is major movement in the western world (and by major movement I mean people are giving money) to help fight HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB in third world countries – including tanzania, and someone asked me my thoughts on malaria and malaria prevention here.

first of all malaria is tragic because it is completely treatable, mostly preventable, and still millions of people are dying from it every year. Nets and profilactics do work. And nets are cheap, but they are not widely used and not widely available in places like where I live – where they are needed most. There are many programs that offer free nets, pesticide treated nets, or nets at very cheap prices, cheap enough that even the average Tanzanian family could afford to buy one.

however there are still many problems with fighting malaria -
1. The average tz family has about a billion people in it, so one net is not enough to actually protect a family, which makes ngos/businesses that sell nets not especially effective.
2. In order for a net to be really effective it must be used EVERY NIGHT, this does not always happen – not sure if this is an education issue.
3. Medication once you have malaria is rather expensive
4. DDT has only recently been re-legalized to help fight the spread of malaria, and is not yet widely used or cheap in all locations
5. Malaria is widely over diagnosed. Ok, so I don’t know that this is actually a problem in the fight against malaria, but often if you go to a health center they will tell you that you have malaria regardless of whether or not you have a fever, and put you on rather strong medication. This can be discouraging.

so those are my rather scattered thoughts re:malaria and nets.
send more questions, I’m more likely to write a blog if I have a question to answer

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