It’s World Malaria Day and as we STILL don’t have a vaccine, I guess us non-scientists can contribute to the fight by whacking a few of the disgusting little wretches.
Don’t get me wrong- I am really glad that this deadly parasitic disease is getting more attention. Half a billion people catch it every year. It kills a child (most likely an African child) every 30 seconds. Considering the fact that there’s a whole week devoted to Homeopathy Awareness (?), I guess we can give malaria at least one day. It has put me in the hospital three times and I am a relatively wealthy, lucky and educated person. Here in Burkina, it’s responsible for thousands of deaths every year and many lost days of work and school for those that survive it.
We are being told that a malaria vaccine will probably be ready by 2010. The good scientists at the Malaria Vaccine Initiative seem to be working hard on it. But they don’t have the kind of resources that, for example, Pfizer poured into making those little blue Viagra pills that have been on the market for 10 years now and that last year alone made them 1.7 billion dollars.
And given the way the world works, I think everybody knows that saving the lives of millions third-world people will never garner the same huge cash profits as perking up the wilting manly-bits of the wealthy.
Don't call me bitter- just call me frustrated. Malaria deaths are preventable tragedies.
And until we can make sure that fewer children die, efforts here at family planning and improving quality of life are severely hampered. It's hard to tell a couple out in an isolated village, far from decent medical care, that they should limit their family size. These people know from hard experience that deadly diseases strike hardest at small children.
With an effective and safe malaria vaccine available to everyone on the world, that would mean one less killer on the loose. And that's one less element contributing to poverty and hopelessness.
Coming up this weekend on this very blog : The Pagne Primer: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About West-African Wrap-skirts, But Were Afraid to Ask.