Our team has researched and written about the impacts of malaria for more than a decade. Over the years, we have grown accustomed to, and calloused by, sharing the many staggering statistics about the disease such as these…
A child dies every two minutes from malaria
3.2 billion people live in areas at risk of malaria
While statistics like these continue to rattle us, nothing could have prepared us for the experience of witnessing malaria’s impact firsthand in Uganda, while uniquely embedded behind the scenes with our International relief partner, Medical Team International. Medical Teams responds to disasters around the world—and at home—by mobilizing more than 2,000 volunteers a year to help care for the sick and injured. Malaria is one of many diseases they diagnose and treat in Uganda.
Refugee Crisis and Uganda’s Magical Balance of Aid
Insect Shield was afforded the privilege of experiencing the work of Medical Teams from a vantage point only staff and medical professional volunteers are typically privy. Flanked by Medical Teams staff, we were permitted to journey through several refugee settlements in the the West Nile region of Uganda, mere kilometers from borders of South Sudan and the Congo. We visited remote field offices, mobile medical clinics, nutrition and birthing centers and walked alongside incoming refugees in their first moments of peaceful arrival at a border collection point. These powerful, unique experiences will never be forgotten.
Fighting in Uganda’s neighboring countries has pushed hundreds of thousands of refugees into border areas within the last few years. Homes have been looted, towns have changed hands between forces, famine is widespread and both men and women have suffered violence as a weapon of war. As a result, Uganda has welcomed more than one million refugees into their country since 2014. More than 1,000 Medical Teams employees join hands with 50 NGO’s and the Uganda Ministry of Health to care for the hundreds of thousands of refugees who have fled to safety.
Malaria in Uganda
Statistics from the Ministry of Health show that malaria is still one of the leading cause of death in Uganda, accounting for over 27% of deaths. In the refugee settlements Insect Shield visited near Adjumani, we were told of malaria rates soaring to 60% during the rainy season and child morbidity rates up to 33% (for children 5 and under).
Insect Shield Experience
While in Uganda with Medical Teams we witnessed strength and courage – real time. It was equal parts inspiring and gut-wrenching. Right before our eyes, live and in-person, we watched mother after mother, and child after child undergo malaria tests with positive results. Kit after kit showed evidence of malaria as we stood by watching. Yes, we were fluent with the statistics and these results should not have been a surprise, however they kicked us squarely in our hearts.
Snapshot of Malaria Worldwide
- Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. It is preventable and curable.
- The World Health Organization estimates that in 2016 malaria caused 216 million clinical episodes and 445,000 deaths.
- A child dies every two minutes from malaria
- 3.2 billion people live in areas at risk of malaria
Insect Shield’s Contributions
Our founders’ original intention for developing Insect Shield technology was to help protect those most at risk for insect-borne diseases, such as malaria. We are proud to help protect the Medical Teams International staff in Uganda with Insect Shield treatment of their field uniforms and are inspired now, more than ever, to do more to battle malaria.
While in Uganda, we were in awe of the strength and courage of the human spirit as demonstrated by Medical Teams staff and refugees, as well as what good can come from such beautifully orchestrated aid collaboration.
According to the CDC, malaria was eradicated from the Unites States as far back as the early 1950’s, here’s hoping we can continue to join forces in the fight to protect against and ultimately end malaria worldwide.
World Malaria Day Promotion
Insect Shield is donating $2 from every online order back to Medical Teams International throughout a 2-week period around World Malaria Day. During this time, consumers will enjoy 20% off our online store and learn more about malaria’s impact worldwide.