For this week’s blog, I’ve asked our chairman and CEO, Chris Grandpre, to reflect on his recent trip with Malaria No More to Kenya. His experience was amazing…
It’s been an odd transition this week back to the normal daily routine. Late last week, I returned from a trip to Kenya where I was able to see firsthand the impact that Mosquito Squad is making in the fight against needless and preventable malaria deaths in Africa.
I’m still battling being really tired after not sleeping on the 38-hour trip back. In addition, I find myself missing Africa and the incredible camaraderie of our traveling group that included:
- Patrick & Kathy McKennon, Mosquito Squad of Nashville
- Martin Edlund, CEO – Malaria No More
- Mark Allen, Managing Director of Africa Programs – Malaria No More
- Stevan Miller, Chief Development Officer – Malaria No More
- Kelly Fleming, Development Associate – Malaria No More
It was phenomenal to see the work of Malaria No More on the ground in a beautiful country, but a country also clearly dealing with a tremendous lack of infrastructure and severe poverty issues. It really helped put into perspective how incredibly fortunate that we all are here in the States.
Our experience included participating in meetings in Nairobi with Malaria No More’s team in Kenya along with staff from the Clinton Health Alliance Initiative, an organization focused on fostering coordination between government and global health organizations. While malaria is a significant problem in Kenya where over 34,000 children die every year, the country is also dealing with other major health risks such as yellow fever, polio, typhoid fever, cholera and hepatitis.
We learned how global health organizations work together and in concert with the government to implement programs to educate, prevent, diagnose and treat these major health issues. In countries lacking infrastructure and modern communications systems, it is extremely challenging to implement programs across vast areas dotted by remote villages.
We also had the opportunity to travel across the country and visit some of the remote villages. Our most memorable day was one spent in the village of Chebunyo. After many hours of rough travel on unpaved roads, we spent a day touring the local medical clinic and learning about their efforts to educate the villagers about malaria as well as diagnose and treat cases when necessary.
We delivered bed nets to a number of mothers with newborns in the village and we installed nets in several homes/mud huts. It was an extremely rewarding experience, especially as we watched the kids gleefully dive under the nets as soon as we finished hanging them.
Despite the primitive living conditions, the warmth and happiness of the people in Chebunyo was striking. I will always remember the huge smiles on the kids’ faces as we took their pictures.
I was able to see firsthand the impact that Mosquito Squad and Malaria No More are having in Africa. Malaria deaths have declined nearly 50% over the last five years. We heard this both at the macro level in Nairobi and from the team at the medical clinic in Chebunyo. Fewer children are dying today as a result of increased efforts.
To help us continue to fight malaria, please donate now at SwatMalaria.net.