In my last blog post I had a whine about the
possibility absolute certainty of my contracting malaria while in Ethiopia. My blood is a delicious fine wine, anti-mosquito spray doesn’t work well, wah wah wah.
You know what, dear readers? I’m gonna tell myself to STFU. I’m gonna take my first-world problems, and go sit in the naughty corner and think about what I’ve done.
Because the thing is, I’m so privileged to have been born and bred in a country like Australia. I looked upon mosquitoes as annoying tenacious A-holes, but never as miniature assassins.
In Africa and many other areas of the world, mosquito-borne malaria is rife. And it kills readily. Pregnant women that are infected with malaria often end up giving birth to babies that are then much more vulnerable to other diseases.
In a continent chock-full of infectious disease, that’s not exactly an optimal situation.
Malaria is responsible for a staggering number of deaths – over one million a year – most of which are children under the age of five in Sub-Saharan Africa.
I find it hard to even consider that, come wintertime, I’ll have to say goodbye to my steadfast garden companion, Mr. Basil Plant. He’s not a person, he’s not even sentient, and he cost me €1.99. But I’ll mourn his eventual loss.
Simply imagining that African parents are forced to look at their babies with the harsh reality that next week there may be one (or more) less, well that’s just horrifying. It’s estimated that one child dies of malaria every 30 seconds. That’s almost too awful to even comprehend.
All this is why the recent announcement of a malaria vaccine made me do a moonwalk happy-dance. Especially their claims that they don’t plan on making a profit.
VACCINES FOR EVERYONE!!
Side note: I will, just for the current moment, avoid ranting about the selfish and utterly mind-numbingly stupid actions of anti-vaxx campaigners, and the poor scared parents that they brainwash.
Side note #2: Mosquitoes can carry more than just malaria. The kiss from these little devils can pass on delights such as different types of encephalitis, dengue, yellow fever, and west nile virus. Add to that the fact that African kids are at risk from a bajillion* other deadly diseases, like measles, tetanus, polio, and hepatitis.
Rough childhood, that is.
I still hope I don’t contract malaria, but MUCH more than that, I hope that free and available vaccines make their way around the globe as soon as is humanly possible.