Friday, June 19, 2009

June 20 - World Refugee Day

Today is World Refugee Day; a day to bring awareness to the millions of people who are forced to flee their homes due to political strife, natural disasters or ethnic tensions. Many refugees in Africa are forced to live in camps; the stay can be for a few weeks, a few months, or even, a few years.

Mosquitoes are drawn to these camps; the living conditions are ideal for the pesky bugs to spread the virus. In turn, refugees have a very high probability of acquiring malaria and thus, it comes as no surprise that malaria is the number one killer of refugees in Africa. It kills about half a billion people annually; that's half the people in India, or China...

Economically, the cost of treating and caring for malaria patients, costs the African government about $12 billion a year.

But here's the good news. Malaria can be prevented with the use of mosquito bed nets. With education, and the use of this simple net, families can be saved.

For example, in 2006, malaria caused 33% of all illness in refugee camps in Kenya. Now it accounts for just 8%. A very significant drop and clearly, we can definitely reduce this to 0%.
And that is why it's important to keep working at the issue; we can't stop now when the goal is within our reach.

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