The Overlooked Need This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

February 28, 2011
By
“I need new shoes!” “I need a cup of coffee!” “I need a break!” We constantly use the word need. However, do we stop to think that saying we need these things is completely untrue?

Every day we use the word without considering what true need is. Can you live without a new pair of­ shoes? Are you going to die if you don’t get a cup of coffee? If you were to ask a person suffering from malaria what she needs, you would get a completely different answer.

Malaria is an infectious disease transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. “Each year approximate 515 million cases of malaria occur worldwide, and over one million people die, most of them young children in sub-Saharan Africa,” according to the Volunteer Partnerships for West Africa. Africa needs help in battling this disease.

Although malaria has devastated so much of the African continent, it is both treatable and preventable. Africa needs insecticide-treated bed nets. These nets are placed over a sleeping space to create a barrier between the person and mosquitos, while the chemicals on the nets kill mosquitos on contact. Sleeping under a bed net can decrease severe malaria cases by as much as 43 percent, according to Malaria Consortium.

Africa needs antimalarial drugs. These medicines can prevent malaria infections, and if used early enough, they can treat the disease after it is contracted, dramatically decreasing malarial deaths.

Even though we don’t see or hear about malaria every day, it is a huge issue in our world today. In sub-Saharan Africa, malaria is responsible for “over 2,700 deaths per day, or two deaths per minute,” according to the Volunteer Partnerships for West Africa. This doesn’t need to be the case. By donating even small amounts of money, we can help change these statistics. A bed net costs only $5.

There are ways to fight malaria in Africa besides donating money. We must raise awareness too. Because malaria is so frequently under-reported, it does not receive enough attention from governments, aid agencies, and drug companies. Malaria can no longer be overlooked. We need to help.

For more information about the Volunteer Partnerships for West Africa, visit www.vpwa.org.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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