Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Story #4-The Power of Bed Nets

Preparing to go to Liberia, we had to complete several precautions to ensure that we had a safe and worthwhile stay. We made sure we had the appropriate legal documents, emergency insurance, vaccinations, as well as medicines, a first aid kit, bug repellent, and of course, a malaria bed net. While we did not give a second thought to gathering these things before we traveled to Liberia, the importance of them was magnified throughout the weeks we worked and lived in Africa.

Most of Liberians do not have access or the ability to purchase these lifesaving materials. The typical greeting in Liberia is, "How's the body?" or "How was the night?" Signifying the impact of health upon their lives each day. When they become sick, they can only hope it will pass so that they can see another sunrise.

Not only is malaria a threat to their everyday health, it is also a threat to their hearing. Presently, there are no statistics available as to how many people are deaf or who have a hearing loss in Liberia. If audiologists are available in the country, many do not see them, so there are no statistics on the causes of deafness. But talking to the Principal of the Hope school, David Worlobah, and going through student information sheets, I found that most of the students became deaf after an illness or due to loud noises during the war. These illnesses consisted of malaria, typhoid, or Lassa fever. With these diseases, a high fever is likely, which can cause deafness. Deafness that could be preventable.

As you can see in the picture, our malaria net was put to good use; as was our bug repellent and stomach medicine. We were able to leave a few of our materials behind, but there are still many more that are needed. If you would like to provide a lifesaving malaria net or find out more information on the Nothing but Nets campaign, please take time to visit this site. Or go to Worldvision website to learn how to provide health care to families in need.

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