As the weather warms here in the United States, we are receiving a steady stream of information about mosquito-borne challenges—particularly regarding Zika, which has recently become a topic of household discussion. The impact of this disease has been seen on our nightly news through sad photos of children with microcephaly. VisionTrust has several countries in the path of Zika and we have issued travel alerts to our short-term mission teams traveling to Latin America.
While we are working to offset the risk of Zika, we are also continually fighting the risk of other common mosquito-borne illnesses such as Dengue Fever, Chikungunya, and most importantly, Malaria. Every single day, we battle against the challenges these illnesses create among the children we serve across the world.
April 25 is World Malaria Day, and we hope you will stop and reflect upon the far-reaching effects mosquitoes can have. According to UNICEF, “Malaria kills a child somewhere in the world every minute, mostly children in Africa. Ninety per cent of malaria deaths occur in Africa, where malaria accounts for about one in six of all childhood deaths.” The children who survive often battle anemia, which can stunt their growth and development.
I have visited many of our African programs, and not a day passed that I didn’t meet someone who was suffering from Malaria, had a family member suffering from Malaria, or had recently recovered from Malaria. It is more prevalent than us in the United States complaining about a simple cold or allergies. To combat this large scale challenge, VisionTrust is investing in Health Development Coordinators who will provide education on mosquito protection in our communities, work with our students on strategies for mosquito abatement, teach parents and teachers to watch for early symptoms of mosquito-borne illness in the children, and be there for the children when health care resources are quickly needed.
If you want to learn more about our Health Development Coordinators and support this critical role, you can do so by visiting the VisionTrust website.
Please pray for the children we serve around the world and God’s hand of protection against all the challenges of the mosquito.