How are the URJ and
lives through the Nothing but Nets campaign? by Michelle
Malaria: The cause of nearly 1.5 million deaths a year, while
infecting nearly 500 million people worldwide. Ninety percent of the deaths
caused by malaria occur in Africa where the
disease is a leading cause of death for children.
numbers are paired with big problems. And yet,
just one small creature, the mosquito, is the source.
The URJ has joined in the initiative with the
Nothing but Nets grassroots campaign to fight malaria. The campaign,
inspired by Sports Illustrated columnist Rick Reilly, is now supported by NFTY as partners of
the URJ. Reform Jews from across North America have
been raising money to buy mosquito nets for families
in Africa. The fact is that malaria is avoidable, and much
easier to stop than once thought. Our goal is to provide 50,000
nets to prevent the spread of the disease and save lives.
(To date we have raised $160,000, which equates
to 16,000 nets -- or 32% of our goal.)
Why are we donating money for nets and not for actual
vaccinations? Donating bed nets is so important
because they are one of the most effective ways to prevent the
spread of the disease. In many ways, net donation is one of
the easiest ways to truly take a stance on combating malaria. At
this point in time, there actually is not a consistent, effective
vaccine. The actual carrier of malaria (the parasite Plasmodium), goes
through several changes and often becomes resistant to the drug.
Bed nets thus provide a rapid and effective route toward prevention. The sooner
we can help, the better.
is malaria and what are its effects? Malaria is spread by
mosquitoes, which possess a certain blood parasite known as
Plasmodium. The numbers are scary; more that 500 million people
are infected with malaria each year and more than 1 million die.
Even more shocking: nearly one person contracts the disease
every 30 seconds. Infected humans experience flu-like symptoms
that can result in coma and death. Africa tends to be the hotspot
for malaria for several reasons. First, the region is home to a
certain type of mosquito that is suitable for carrying Plasmodium.
And, medical treatment and health facilities to treat malaria
victims are severely lacking in these countries.
The effects of malaria are
devastating not only because of the mental and physical pain and
suffering of the victims and their families but also because of
the economic burden put on the countries. According to the Nothing
but Nets site, "Malaria accounts for up to half of all hospital
admissions and outpatient visits in Africa." In addition, nearly
$12 billion is lost in production due to the disease.
Only female mosquitoes can
actually transmit the disease. The good news is that malaria can
be both prevented and treated. Artemisinin-based combination
therapies (ACTs) are the most effective drugs available for
treating malaria. In order to directly help the people who need
them, less expensive ACTs, along with new strategies to distribute
them need to be developed.
a net. Save a life. It really can
be that simple.
One hundred percent of every $10
donation to Nothing but Nets goes toward the purchase,
distribution and education about the proper use of an insecticide
bed net. These nets kill the mosquitoes once they land on the net
itself, preventing them from biting in the middle of the night,
and stopping them from finding their next victim. Scientists
suggest that bed nets can help prevent malaria transmission by
We all want to be "the change that
you wish to see in the world," but sometimes we just don?t know
how to take the first step. This may just be that step for many of
us; for others, it is another stride toward making a
Learn more and spread the word If you are interested in learning
more about the Nothing but Nets campaign, I strongly encourage you
contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
. We can continue to save
lives by spreading the word, involving synagogues, individual TYGs and other youth
Are the nets really going to save lives or is
it the vaccinations that truly do the job?
Are NFTY and the
URJ doing enough for this campaign? If not, what more
lives in Miami, FL but is getting ready
to attend her first semester at the University of Florida in
Gainesville this fall. She was lucky to serve as the NFTY
STR Social Action Vice President this past term
but is now ready to take a step to
new heights as she serves as the new NFTY Social
Action Vice President. She is a member of Temple Judea in Coral Gables, FL
where she was an active TYG participant. During her free time
she enjoys eating double stuffed Oreos and watching Law and Order
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