Malaria Awareness Day

Related Pages
Photo Albums

No creature has directly touched the lives of more human beings than the mosquito. She has no purpose. She simply survives and reproduces. Yet this tiny creature has decided or affected battles and wars, from barbarian times through to the Second World War in the Pacific. Today we immediately associate the name Eiffel with the Eiffel Tower in Paris; but his name is also associated with the Panama Canal, where thousands of Frenchmen working on the project died of malaria.

It was not until the 1890s that Ronald Ross, a physician working in India, demonstrated how the malaria parasite entered the human bloodstream - and thus earned himself a Nobel Prize. However, as yet we have not yet been able to conquer the mosquito, though there has been some encouraging news of late.

WHO reports that the investment in malaria control has created unprecedented momentum in recent years. In Africa, malaria deaths have been cut by one third within the last decade; outside of Africa, 35 of the 53 countries affected by malaria have reduced malaria cases by 50% over the same period. In countries where control intervention has improved, most significantly overall child mortality rates have fallen by approximately 20%.

Rotary’s main “control intervention” over a number of years has been the provision of Long Life Impregnated Nets (LLINs), made through Rotarians Against Malaria’s Adopt A Village program. Rotarians Against Malaria (RAM) started at Brookvale Rotary in 1990 as a club program, on the initiative of PP Dr Brian Hanley. Then it became a District 9680 program before being embraced by Rotary clubs across Australia. Now RAM is making valued contributions throughout the Pacific region.

In Papua New Guinea it has played a key, trusted role for many years. Right now, with major funding from the Global Fund, RAM is delivering free LLINs to meet the needs of every household in the country. PNG’s land area is one twentieth that of Australia. 85% of its 6 million plus population live in small villages and the terrain is confronting. So this RAM project is both a Rotary coup and a huge logistical challenge. All credit goes to RAM- PNG’s Chairman Ron Seddon, his team, and Rotary Club of Port Moresby.

Australian Rammers also continue to work very closely with both the Rotary Club of Honiara and the Solomon Islands government. They have played an important role in malaria initiatives, including also securing major funding for the distribution of LLINs in the Solomons.  The annual incidence of malaria in the country has decreased markedly.

Now Timor Leste is the main current focus of the Adopt A Village program. There, with the continued support of our Rotary clubs, RAM hopes to repeat the achievements in PNG and the Solomon Islands.