Half the population of the world, or 3.2 billion people, live where malaria is easily transmitted. Malaria killed 438,000 in 2015 alone, and according to the World Health Organization, 7 percent of those deaths were in the South-East Asia Region
Malaria is highly prevalent in tropical and subtropical regions. One of the major reasons it transmits so quickly is because of mosquitos. These insects breed in stagnant water, multiplying by the hundreds. Combine this with a poor medical infrastructure and limited access to health care, and the impact of malaria and other insect-borne diseases are astronomical.
Keeping the Mosquitos Away
August 20 is World Mosquito Day, in honor of British doctor Sir Ronald Ross’s discovery that the female mosquito transmits malaria to humans. GFA-supported pastors and their congregations hold special events each year, not only to spread awareness but also to teach about mosquito-transmitted disease prevention. They also hand out mosquito nets and repellents. Last year, pastors distributed mosquito coils, devices that act as an insect repellent when burnt.
In one village, GFA-supported pastor Pramath and a team of Sisters of Compassion passed out 400 of these coils to those who needed them most. They also taught people how to protect themselves from mosquito bites. At the same time, another GFA-supported pastor Aveer and his team held an awareness program in various remote villages. The villagers gratefully took 700 coils home.
It wasn’t only the local congregations that were getting involved. One local school partnered with GFA-supported workers to distribute 500 mosquito coils. The school staff were glad to participate with the workers and were appreciative of their initiative to spread awareness. Additionally, another pastor with his team gained permission to distribute coils at a hospital. The hospital staff were thankful for these worker’s willingness to help, as 1,300 coils were given to patients.
Knowing Is Half the Battle
Distributing coils wasn’t the only approach for World Mosquito Day last year. Many pastors and their parishioners also held awareness programs. GFA-supported pastor Kohath held a presentation for women, where they learned how to prevent many mosquito-borne illnesses, such as dengue and malaria.
In another village, workers organized a program for 70 women and children. Sister Palomi, a member of the church, taught the women how to remove stagnant water and prevent mosquitos from breeding.
One of the attendees, Saravati, remarked, “You are doing wonderful work and helping the villagers, who really do not know how to keep their houses and health safe.”
Another villager said, “Thank you for coming to our village and teaching us to protect [ourselves] from the mosquito bite.”