It was becoming normal for me- a patient presenting with fever, muscle aches, headache, and fatigue. “Let’s send them to the lab to get tested, and then I’ll see them in the clinic,” I said to the nurses several times per day. I was learning more every day about this infection, which affected so many of my community in Ghana. Over 400,000 people died of this in 2019- so no, not covid. Malaria.
This year we have come together across the globe to fight a new disease. Though this new coronavirus has taken a large toll on many countries and communities, I think World Malaria Day gives us a chance to put things in perspective. The real threat of catching a deadly infectious disease is not a new reality for a lot of the world. Malaria, tuberculosis, typhoid, AIDS, and parasitic infections were conditions we diagnosed daily in Ghana.
When we served with Mission Doctors in Ghana, I rounded daily in the pediatric ward and saw children almost every day that had severe malaria. They were admitted with severe anemia, dehydration, or seizures from cerebral malaria. The pediatric nurses spent a lot of their day controlling children’s fevers, administering IV fluids and medications, and educating parents about nutrition, compliance with taking vitamins at discharge, and other basic health topics.
This year on World Malaria Day, let’s continue to pray for those affected by malaria and support them however we can. As we put on facemasks to stop the spread of respiratory droplets, let’s remember those around the world that sleep under bed nets at night to protect themselves from mosquitos. As we reopen our schools and economy, let’s ask how we can help our brothers and sisters who are too weak from infectious disease to study or work. Lord God, on World Malaria Day, we pray that you open our eyes to the needs of the sick and vulnerable around the world, show us how to act in solidarity with them, and love our neighbors as Jesus taught us.