One of the things that shocked me when I visited Uganda  last month was finding myself scared to death of mosquitoes. It was the strangest feeling to be afraid of something so small — something we usually think of as just a pest. But in Africa mosquito bites don’t just make your arm itch — they kill.
Malaria, which is transmitted by infected mosquitoes, is killing one million people a year. Most of these are children under age 5 in Africa. That’s right. Malaria, which is preventable and treatable, is killing more than 750,000 children a year in Africa.
Before visiting Uganda, I never really understood how mosquitoes managed to claim so many lives. But when I visited homes there, I understood. Many of the houses don’t have doors — just sheets covering the openings. And the windows are usually bare, too. So at night, the mosquitoes help themselves.
Catherine, a single mother I met in Uganda, told me that before Compassion gave her an insecticide-treated mosquito net, she did everything she could to protect her 10-year-old daughter, Irene. But her efforts were in vain.
“Every night, I tried to cover Irene with a blanket, but she would still get bitten all night long,” said Catherine. “I wanted so badly to buy her a net, but I couldn’t afford it.”
And when Irene got malaria, Catherine certainly couldn’t afford doctors’ bills. “Before Compassion, I would go pleading to doctors for help and beg to pay later,” she said.
Thank God that Compassion intervened! Through the ministry’s Complementary Interventions Program , Irene is now getting medicine and sleeps under a quality net. Today, she’s healthy and thriving.
You can make a difference and help protect vulnerable children like Irene! Since today is World Malaria Day , take a minute to learn more about this disease and see how you can join the fight!