Let’s Talk Numbers



200 million.

The number of people infected with malaria every year.

600,000.

The number of people who died from malaria last year, many under the age of 5.

75,000.

The number of nets the Union for Reform Judaism has donated to Nothing But Nets, the UN Foundation program that focuses on ending deaths from malaria worldwide.

And the scary thing is that, despite significant strides made in the past decade, things are beginning to look worse.

Ending deaths from malaria by 2015 is Nothing But Nets’ goal, and the URJ has been their partner in this endeavor since 2007. It’s not an expensive cause (one net costs just $10), but it’s a noble and necessary one.

In today’s world everything comes down to money and saving lives is no exception. If you’ve read the news or even looked in your bank account recently, you probably know that money is tight. The same goes for the United States right now, as we near the end of the year and the impending fiscal cliff.

But the money that America spends on foreign aid and life-saving programs around the globe make up a mere 1% of our total budget. Don’t get me wrong – the U.S. has and continues to play an incredible role in helping to eradicate malaria across the world. Through the President’s Malaria Initiative, a prevention program created by President George W. Bush, and through the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the US has helped make significant progress in combating disease, educating the public, and saving lives.

So yes, money is tight. But we cannot allow what little money that remains to disappear. Fully funding the President’s Malaria Initiative and the Global Fund must remain among our foreign aid priorities.

So let’s go back to those numbers. 200 million. 600,000.

A decrease in these first two numbers would be a victory. Encourage Congress to appropriate $650 million to the President’s Malaria Initiative. Encourage Congress to remain committed to providing one-third of funding to the Global Fund at the tune of $1.65 billion.

75,000.

How great it would be to see this number go up. Send a check for $10 to the URJ and we’ll buy a life-saving mosquito net and send it to a refugee camp South Sudan. Checks can be payable and mailed to: URJ – Nothing But Nets, 633 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017.

The United States, its citizens, and indeed the Reform Movement, have all played a crucial and vocal role in ending deaths worldwide from malaria. Let’s not abandon that commitment. It’s numbers. It’s nets. It’s money. But ultimately, it’s life.

 

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Molly Benoit

About Molly Benoit

Molly Benoit is the RAC Legislative Associate and was a 2011-2012 Eisendrath Legislative Assistant. She is from Palm City, FL, and a member of Temple Beit HaYam.

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