The impact of malaria
Mary is a 15-year-old girl from the Malto community, a small tribe in a remote part of East India. Each year, malaria claims more and more lives in Mary’s community. Mary’s father, Joseph, is a farmer and her mother, Adila, looks after their home. Mary was the youngest of three girls, but this family is one of the many impacted by malaria.
In 2002, the year Mary turned six, a Compassion child development centre opened in her community. Mary got the opportunity to be enrolled in the program. Just when life seemed smooth for the family, tragedy struck. Both of Mary’s sisters died in quick succession from cerebral malaria.
Joseph and Adila put words to the painful reality of many families who have lost their loved ones to the disease. “Our heart was crushed to see both our daughters die before our eyes … it was painful to get over the loss but we had to move on, as we couldn’t afford to lose Mary,” tells Joseph. But then Mary too contracted malaria.
“We were worried for Mary but we kept hope because the centre was taking care of her,” says Adila.
A disease that can be beaten
Because Mary was part of the Compassion centre, staff could provide timely medical intervention that helped save Mary’s life, along with the prayers of the children and staff who love her. Children at Compassion centres in the region are given Chloroquine tablets twice a week as a precaution against malaria as well as treated mosquito nets to sleep under. When children are diagnosed with malaria, they are taken to the nearby hospital and treated with Primaquine tablets to ensure that it doesn’t turn into cerebral malaria.
As a father, Joseph feels relieved that the whole family now sleeps inside a mosquito net. Before, he used to spend a lot of money to treat sicknesses in his family; now he saves the money for his daughter’s future. “I am happy … I have learned the importance of [the mosquito] nets. We tie the nets we got from the project before we go to bed every night.”
These simple malaria interventions have effectively changed the lives of many families who would otherwise spend time and money they can’t afford on buying mosquito nets and medicine. Through these efforts, Compassion is helping a generation of children like Mary look forward to a healthy and happy future, free from the fear of malaria.
What is the Bite Back campaign?
To keep the fight against malaria going, Compassion has started their BITE BACK campaign, which Fervr is proud to be a part of. Malaria is an easily preventable disease, and every net bought through BITE BACK is a life saved, a family rescued from grief, or one less medical bill to pay. As the body of Christ, there is no global entity more capable, caring and called to act on behalf of children in poverty than the Church. As children matter to Christ, so they should matter to us. If indeed we are called to love, not just with words, but with actions and in truth (1 John 3:17-18), then this is one true way love can be expressed through the action we take. As Christ should be at the centre of all that Christians do, so He is at the centre of all Compassion does with a message that is simple and clear: to love God first and foremost and to love others as we love ourselves. So bite malaria back and help Compassion save the lives of children like Mary through distributing mosquito nets in Jesus’ name.
Join the fight against malaria
You can help our generation be the one that ends malaria. Join Compassion’s BITE BACK campaign and you will help provide treated mosquito nets, malaria prevention education, and medical treatment for children and their families in malaria-affected communities. One mosquito net costs about $15- less than the price of a movie ticket. Give a mosquito net today at www.compassion.com.au/biteback or get your friends or youth group together and get fundraising to BITE BACK in a big way!