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Nothing But Nets Blog
Yesterday (July 31) was African Women’s Day. The world celebrated the millions of women in Africa who are making a difference in their homes, their communities, and their world.
These women are everyday heroes, whether they are mothers, teachers, politicians, or students. Jamila Hassan, for instance, is working to eliminate malaria as an educator, health advocate, and mother of three. As the only female supervisor in the Zanzibar Urban District, she’s working hard to improve the health of her community.
In Africa, women are especially vulnerable to malaria. According to the World Health Organization, around 30 million women become pregnant each year in places where malaria is endemic. Pregnancy weakens women’s immune systems – making them more susceptible to contracting malaria. Malaria during pregnancy can lead to health complications and accounts for up to 200,000 newborn deaths each year.
For years, scientists have been searching for a way to stop malaria-carrying mosquitoes in their tracks. While bed nets remain the most effective tool for protecting families from being bitten by the nocturnal mosquitoes, new technology is looking to cut the risk by trapping and killing the mosquitoes before they hit the net.
A solution may be simpler than it seems. Scientists in Tanzania found the stinky smell of socks is the perfect bait for mosquitoes, and are using the odor to draw the bugs into a poisoned trap. According to Dr. Fredros Okumu, head of the research project, the chemical-imitated odor attracted four times as many mosquitoes than a sockless human in trial experiments, and it killed up to 95 percent of the insects.
When they met in the seventh grade in Needham, MA, Megan Dardinski and Colin Barrett weren’t aware of the public health crisis malaria was causing around the world. Years later, they’re using their wedding to help protect 100 families from the disease.
"It is so easy to get caught up in your day-to-day routine, between work, school, and family, but there are so many people whose only day-to-day routine is their struggle to survive," said Megan. After learning about Nothing But Nets from Colin’s father, Tim, they decided to give a small contribution on behalf of each guest, in lieu of wedding favors, to Nothing But Nets. Their friends and family will also be able to learn more and keep spreading the buzz.
Megan recently earned her Masters in Public Health from Boston University and after learning that bed nets can help stop the spread of malaria by up to 90 percent, said "For us, this was a no-brainer."
Congratulations, Megan and Colin! Thanks for spreading the buzz through your special day.
Here in the United States, fathers everywhere are their kids’ #1 fans, cheering them on throughout their lives. Some of my best memories as a child are fishing and camping with my five brothers and sisters and dad. Thanks to him, I’m able to enjoy everything the great outdoors has to offer.
Growing up in Colorado, we didn’t have to worry about contracting malaria from mosquitoes on our camping trips. But for fathers in countries across Africa, protecting their kids is more difficult than using a bottle of bug spray. They need life-saving bed nets, like the ones you can send with Nothing But Nets, to ensure happy and healthy lives for their kids.
In 2006, bishops and basketball players from the NBA and the United Methodist Church teamed up with the UN Foundation as the founding partners of the Nothing But Nets campaign. Now, more than five years later, this partnership is stronger than ever.
The NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder and Oklahoma UMC came together to become Champions in the movement to end malaria this spring, joining forces to send nets and save lives at “Nothing But Nets Night.” Proceeds from the night went to Nothing But Nets and the UMC sold more than 600 tickets to the Oklahoma City Thunder game! Congregation leaders, including Bishop Robert Hayes Jr., encouraged fans to send nets and save lives.
It was a great event that raised more than $10,000 — enough to send over 1,000 nets to protect families in Africa!