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Antenatal Classes

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  • Shaken Baby Syndrome

    Tuesday, 21 July 2015 16:28
  • Amniotic fluid problems

    Thursday, 14 May 2015 12:54
  • Choosing a pre-school

    Friday, 10 April 2015 17:50
  • Newborn reflexes

    Tuesday, 03 March 2015 15:49
  • Mastitis

    Tuesday, 03 March 2015 15:41
  • Pelvic floor exercises

    Wednesday, 11 February 2015 17:20
  • Colic

    Wednesday, 11 February 2015 17:11
  • Antenatal Classes

    Monday, 03 June 2013 09:34
  • Strap-in-the-Future

    Thursday, 30 June 2011 13:52

Fighting Malaria

LifebloodEvery 45 seconds, a child in Africa dies from malaria. Ray Chambers, 68, the co-founder of the non-profit group Malaria No More, has devoted his life to changing that. Chambers is a board member and global ambassador for Population Services International (PSI), the world's largest distributor of anti-malaria mosquito nets. The use of bed nets showed you could bring down child deaths by a fifth,’ says Christian Lengeler, head of the Health Intervention Unit at the Swiss Tropical Institute. ‘After the measles vaccine, there is nothing else in public health that’s ever had that kind of impact.’

In the book, Lifeblood Alex Perry follows Chambers’ anti-malarial campaign over a period of two years. He weaves together science and history with on-the-ground reporting and a riveting expose of the workings of humanitarian aid. Alex Perry is TIME’s Africa Bureau Chief, based in Cape Town. He is the author of Falling Off the Edge: Globalisation, World Peace and Other Lies.  

This is an extract from Lifeblood: How to Change the World One Dead Mosquito at a Time by Alex Perry published in September 2011 by Picador Africa and available at all good bookstores.

A never-ending malaria epidemic is enough to put an entire town down forever. Whereas other human settlements are shaped by their proximity to a navigable river or a natural harbour, or perhaps the discovery of oil or diamonds or gold, Apac [in Uganda] is fashioned by malaria. The disease has put a stranglehold on almost any development. What economy does exist is based around administering to the sick and the dead. A five-minute walk down Apac’s main street – Hospital Road – takes me past twelve medical centers, ten chemists and the Nightingale Comprehensive School of Nursing, housed in a crumbling, windowless single-story brick building. In between are an array of churches and mosques, many with a home-made feel, such as the tiny wood shack on a street behind the Lamco whose signboard reveals it is The Voice of Salvation and Healing Church. Even the names of the few general businesses in town – the Sunset Lodge and the Die Hard Electrical Store – seem to have double meanings.

Apac, very obviously, has a problem. Yet somehow the world has missed it. Signboards erected by the side of the road announce the presence of two foreign assistance programmes. In a place where malaria can kill hundreds of children a day, the office for a child protection programme funded by Germany and the European Union has no malaria programme but concentrates instead on ‘gender-based violence’. Signs for the Republic of Uganda’s National Wetlands Program, funded by the Belgian Technical Cooperation in Uganda, urge residents to ‘Protect Wetland. It is our water granary. It stores, filters and purifies’. In case anyone wonders where the programme stands on the question of wetness versus human life, it has erected other signs next to stagnant ditches around town that read: ‘Water Drainage Prohibited’. By banning people from draining the swamps in which their future death is spawned, the programme says it is ‘empowering development’.

Later Dr Emer tells me about another benign-sounding foreign initiative: organic farming. In early 2008, he says, he sprayed 103 025 houses in Apac with insecticide, a programme paid for by the World Health Organization and other foreign donors. His figures show malaria almost immediately halved. Yet after three months, a court told him to stop. Why? Objections from Uganda’s organic cotton farmers, who supply Nike, H&M and Wal-Mart’s George Baby line. The farmers claimed their foreign buyers could not have chemicals anywhere near their cotton if it was to be certified as organic. Chemical-free farming in Africa probably sounds like a great idea in the West, remarks Dr Emer. The reality is that African babies are dying so that Western babies can wear organic.

Purchase a copy of Lifeblood, by Alex Perry.