10 Things I Hate About Malaria
Ten is a pretty significant number in Judaism. There were the ten plagues of Egypt, there are the Ten Commandments, ten Jews are required to form a minyan, and there are ten generations from both Adam to Noah and Noah to Abraham. But most pertinent to this time of year, there are ten Days of Awe between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. During this time, it is customary to spend time reflecting and renewing with t’shuvah (repentance) and tzedakah, and that includes taking the time to help renew and save others’ lives.
As the Program Coordinator for the Reform Movement’s Nothing But Nets partnership and given the time of year, I thought it only appropriate to list ten things I hate about malaria:
- Pregnant women are at high risk of dying of complications from malaria. Malaria is also a cause of spontaneous abortion, premature delivery, stillbirths, severe maternal anemia and is responsible for about one third of preventable low-birth-weight babies.
- Malaria is the number one infectious disease threat for the US military.
- Malaria has killed more US military members than all enemy fire-related deaths in all US wars combined.
- Over 600,000 people die each year from malaria. 86% of those people are children.
- At least eight US presidents contracted malaria in their lifetimes.
- Malaria exists in 109 countries around the world, making 3.3 billion people (half the world population) at risk for contracting the disease.
- Malaria used to be so rampant in the southern US, including in Washington, D.C., that foreign dignitaries stationed in D.C. were given danger pay.
- Growing resistance to antimalarial drugs has spread rapidly in Africa.
- An estimated 91% of malaria deaths in 2010 were in Africa, followed by Southeast Asia (6%), and the Eastern Mediterranean region (3%).
- Malaria exacerbates the cycle of extreme poverty in Africa and other parts of the developing world by increasing school absenteeism, inhibiting foreign investment, and decreasing tourism.
And since we are the Religious Action Center, I’ve also included a list of things you can do this High Holy Day season to take action against malaria, brought to you also by the number ten:
- Donate $10 to send a net to Camp Nyarugusu, Tanzania.
- Read about why the Reform Movement is focusing its efforts on Camp Nyarugusu this year.
- Send a letter to your members of congress so they know that robust US leadership is crucial in the fight against malaria.
- Check out the RAC’s Nothing But Nets Days of Awe guide.
- Listen to NBA superstar Stephen Curry talk about his trip to Tanzania on Good Morning America as he is under a net!
- Host a Nothing But Nets Talmud study group during the Days of Awe, during the month of Tishrei, or under the sukkah during Sukkot.
- Tweet or post these links on Facebook to encourage your friends and family to donate $10 or send a letter to their member of congress.
- Ask your rabbi about decorating your congregation’s sukkah with a mosquito net. Email me, and we’ll send you one!
- Consider encouraging your child or student to incorporate Nothing But Nets into their Bar/Bat Mitzvah project this year. Contact me for details and materials.
- If you want to talk with me more about holding a Nothing But Nets fundraiser or any other event at your congregation, email me or call me at 202-387-2800, and we’ll come up with some great ideas that work for your congregation together!