Healthcare Blog

American Red Cross Expands Fight Against Malaria

June 12, 2017

Building on the success of saving 1.2 million lives through the Measles Initiative over the past five years, the American Red Cross is stepping up its long-term commitment in Africa. One such effort includes an exciting new partnership with Malaria No More, a public- private network to increase public awareness and support the fight against malaria.

Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, chairman of the American Red Cross, said, "The American Red Cross is deeply honored to be a founding partner of such a committed public-private partnership to ensure that the deadly scourge of malaria is truly 'no more.' This grassroots movement will take a comprehensive approach to tackling the disease through distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets, education, prevention and treatment."

Malaria kills 3,000 children every day and claims almost a million lives a year in Africa-yet it is a disease that can be prevented and treated. Malaria is an infection caused by a parasite and carried person to person by mosquitoes.

"Today we commit our family of Red Crossers to mobilize 50 thousand additional volunteers throughout Africa for the next two years and to reaching 10 million people with the distribution of lifesaving bed nets and education. When mothers talk to mothers and neighbors talk to neighbors about malaria prevention, millions of lives will be saved," says McElveen-Hunter.

The American Red Cross has supported effective health campaigns in Africa through the Measles Initiative, delivering free, insecticide-treated bed nets to young families during vaccination campaigns and providing technical expertise and financial support to national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies in Africa to build strong networks of local volunteers. These local volunteers are trained in malaria prevention, then visit from home to home, family to family, teaching communities how to prevent this deadly disease.

The program will build on the success the American Red Cross has experienced with the Measles Initiative, begun five years ago, which has supported the vaccination of more than 217 million children in 41 African countries, saving 1.2 million lives. It is the success of this program that sets the stage for the Movement's role in the new partnership with Malaria No More.

The American Red Cross' malaria prevention and education activities include:

- Distributing free, insecticide-treated bed nets alongside vaccinations through the Measles Initiative

- Supporting Hang-up and Keep-up programs in which trained health education volunteers visit families house-to-house, making sure nets are properly installed and maintained. Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers focus efforts on pregnant women and children under the age of five

- Promoting healthy behaviors, including proper bed net use, eliminating mosquitoes, promptly treating fevers and getting additional nets for new families

- Evaluating and tailoring health education campaigns based on solid research data

- Providing bed nets in emergencies like floods and evacuations, and stockpiling nets for future needs

The American Red Cross helps people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. Last year, almost a million volunteers and 35,000 employees helped victims of almost 75,000 disasters; taught lifesaving skills to millions; and helped U.S. service members separated from their families stay connected. Almost 4 million people gave blood through the Red Cross, the largest supplier of blood and blood products in the United States. The American Red Cross is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. An average of 91 cents of every dollar the Red Cross spends is invested in humanitarian services and programs. The Red Cross is not a government agency; it relies on donations of time, money, and blood to do its work. For more information on American Red Cross malaria reduction activities, see redcross.

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