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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Today Is Malaria Awareness Day

In recognition of Malaria Awareness Day, the American Red Cross is joining with partners to expand the fight against malaria. Malaria impacts more than 300 million people each year, claiming the lives of approximately 3,000 children every day. This is the first Malaria Awareness Day in the United States—a day recognized by many African countries to show solidarity against malaria. While malaria has been effectively eliminated from the United States, it continues to have a devastating impact on communities, especially in Africa.

Over the next two weeks, the American Red Cross will be conducting events and activities in more than 50 cities across the United States. Red Cross volunteers will be helping to raise awareness in communities through parties, bake sales, fundraisers, information sessions and classroom activities. In New York City, the American Red Cross of Greater New York will be holding a "Beat the Bite" fundraiser, an evening complete with African music and food. And the Central Illinois Chapter in Peoria will be displaying a sample insecticide—treated bed net and providing information at schools.

In Africa and other high-risk regions, the American Red Cross is teaming up with partners such as the President's Malaria Initiative, Malaria No More and the Measles Initiative to provide bed nets to children and families. Through its partner national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, the American Red Cross is working in local communities, teaching families how to properly use bed nets.

The Red Cross often also provides bed nets following international emergencies. In Madagascar, for example, the Red Cross just contributed 10,000 bed nets for people affected by recent cyclones. Later this year, the American Red Cross will help to provide more than 1.3 million bed nets in Madagascar, as well as in other countries.

It costs less than $10 to make sure that a child or pregnant woman sleeps under a bed net. That's $10—less than the cost of a movie—to protect a family against this deadly disease.

(Photo Caption: "In Niger, A Woman And Child Sit Under A Bed Net For Protection From Malaria.")

(Photo Credits: PRNewsFoto/American Red Cross, John Haskew)