Malaria in India: Education is Needed

 Malaria is a preventable and curable disease. But each year, over one million people around the world die from it! These two facts stress the importance of addressing the malaria issue, especially in high-risk areas. In the unrelenting heat of Uttar Pradesh in India, where Barakat has had a presence since 2004, malaria is an immediate and very dangerous concern. Malaria is widely known to be spread through infected mosquitoes in pools of stagnant water like rice-fields or even hoof prints in the ground. Despite the fact that malaria medications are available free of charge in government hospitals, problems with infrastructure and lack of education often keep efforts to control the disease from being successful. The malaria threat is especially prevalent in pregnant women and children, whose weaker immune systems give the disease an opportunity to make its way into the blood stream.

When addressing the issue of malaria, the World Health Organization stresses the need for a two-tiered strategy. One aspect of this method is the use of insecticide-treated bed-nets, and the other is educating people on how to use the nets properly and to avoid mosquitoes.? Without this awareness of the importance of bed-nets, this useful intervention will not have nearly as positive an impact. With this in mind, Barakat is planning a distribution of 365 bed-nets at the Care and Fair School in Bhadohi, Uttar Pradesh. With this distribution, students will be taught about how to use the nets and why using the nets is crucial to preventing the disease. Ten-year-old Kumari Rani, a student at the Care and Fair School, comes from a family of 7 and knows many people affected by malaria. Kumari says that malaria is a constant fear in her life and that she does not currently use a mosquito net. She explains, “I learned how to use the net from my teacher. The nets are very useful and make me less scared about malaria.”

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Malaria represents a serious health issue, and Barakat is working with our community to bring education to combat it. The knowledge that educators can spread about the disease can lead to greater prevention measures and fewer pregnant women and children affected.

As we look at this picture of the malaria situation in Uttar Pradesh, we must go back to the original facts about malaria: it is a disease that must be taken seriously since it poses serious dangers and is easily spread, but it is also curable and preventable. We will keep you updated on Barakat’s progress in combating malaria in Uttar Pradesh – prevention is possible and our communities are working hard to attain it!