Non-profit of the month: April 2006 - Nickles for Nets

On Thursday, April 6, on KCET channel 28 in Los Angeles, I saw the documentary, Malaria: Fever Wars.

Malaria kills over a million people a year. But because this is happening mostly in the developing world, we seldom hear about it.

However, there are dedicated people trying to do something about it.

As an alumnus (1993-1997) of the National Institutes of Health, I went to see the internet site to see what they are doing. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is one of the key agencies for Federal level research.

In addition, the non-governmental sector has stepped up to the plate with the Malaria Vaccine Initiative. There are four ways to stop malaria:
(1) insecticides to kill the mosquitos
(2) window screens and bednets to prevent mosquito bites at night when they are most active and people are asleep
(3) antimalarial drugs for those infected
(4) a malaria vaccine to prevent infection.

The Malaria Foundation International web page is a portal to information about malaria and organizations devoted to eradicating this horrible disease.

I hope as you will click through to some of the web sites, you will consider donating to an NGO that moves you to give.

For this month, I'll be donating to the Nickles for Nets program of the International Health Ministries of the Presbyterian Church USA.

To read a transcript of a PBS Newshour report on mosquito netting click here. Excerpt:
JONATHAN SNOW: The AtoZ factory is a huge complex in the northern Tanzania city of Arusha. Mosquito netting in vast profusion being produced by Africans, for Africans, African workers, 1,200 of them quite literally saving other Africans' lives.

The engineers are Chinese. The technology is Japanese. The labor is African. And the money to purchase the completed nets is international.

In sum total, this is the global partnership to roll back malaria. And already this one factory is producing three million nets a year. But this is no place of altruism. This is a vigorously commercial enterprise.

The resin for the yarn comes from ExxonMobil in Saudi. They give the sum AtoZ pays for it back to UNICEF to buy still more nets.

The Japanese pharmaceutical company Sumitomo sells the magic long-life insecticide ingredients to AtoZ but has donated a free and vital technology transfer.

Inside each of these white pellets is insecticide which will bleed out of the yarn over five years.
JONATHAN SNOW: Dr. Guillet argues long-term net technology works. The international community has raced 800 million pounds to pay for nets. So where is the problem?

DR. PIERRE GUILLET: Governments talk a lot about malaria but to my understanding words never kill mosquitoes. And a lot of targets have never been achieved. So one of the problems in Africa, and we have to be aware, is to a certain extent the lack of commitment of the countries, of their governments.