I know, I know. You’re exhausted. Everywhere you look there’s a new cause asking for your time, money and attention. There are definitely some messed up things in this world. And getting involved in any of them is a tough leap to make. Once you get involved in one cause, you’ve then crossed some chasm where you might feel responsible to start caring about all the other causes. And then you won’t be able to enjoy any of your wealth because money spent on yourself is money not spent on relieving the suffering that millions are enduring around the world.
But, listen. This is important. You have a limited time on this earth and you will be held accountable for your actions. Those actions include how you spend your time, money and attention.
I’m not going say that Malaria is THE ULTIMATE MOST IMPORTANT cause you can get involved in. But it is a supremely important one. Here’s why:
1. It’s preventable.
Can you believe that a disease that takes so many lives, is actually preventable? I’ve lived in Sub-saharan Africa for 2.5 years and never gotten Malaria. I take a pill daily, I apply bug spray at night time, and I sleep under a mosquito net.
People who are currently contracting Malaria could live a life where they don’t have to worry about it. But there’s a massive shortage of education and resources. How do we overcome this?
2. We could see it end in our lifetime. Keyword: could.
Remember AIDS? Remember how it was the number one global killer a short 10 years ago? It’s not anymore. We have medicine that’s cheap and when people take it, they keep living. AIDS related deaths are dropping DRAMATICALLY.
A big reason this happened was because AIDS was a scary thing to the Western world. And when things scare the Western world, they do something about it until it’s no longer a problem (exhibit B: Ebola. It’s gone).
Certain people in certain corners of the Western World seem to care about Malaria. But it’s definitely not a prominent concern. If it becomes one, we could see this horrific disease end in our lifetime. But it starts with YOU. YOU have to confidently stand on the front lines and wait for others to join you. Following the crowd means things will stay the same.
3. The numbers.
One million die from Malaria every year. 300–600 million contract Malaria every year. And 40% of the world lives in an area that’s at-risk for Malaria. These are just numbers that will wash over your head because they’re incomprehensible. But caring about Malaria (and proving that care by doing something about it) is showing sympathy to a huge number of people.
I don’t want to go too far with this. But you could almost make the case thatnot caring about Malaria is equivalent to not caring about 40% of the people on this planet. The same planet that you live on!
4. It MOST lethal to kids under 5 years old.
AIDS had a bad reputation for a long time because it was often associated with irresponsible behavior. That’s not the case with Malaria. 90% of the people who die from Malaria are children under 5 years old. They’re innocent and have done nothing to deserve that fate. It’s not fair.
5. It’s really painful.
I’ve been fortunate enough never to contract Malaria. But I’ve had several friends get it and it’s excruciating. 100% of the time people describe it as the worst disease they’ve every gotten. You might think, “Oh well, at least you can just sleep through the pain, right?” Nope. You try and rest but wake up shortly afterwards because of your body’s incessant aching.
That sounds awful enough for us Westerners who get to take sicks days and have access to hospitals with morphine. But what if you lived in a world where your very livelihood depended on manual labor? If you don’t get up and farm, you could lose your crops and have zero income for the year. The stakes are higher for the people who are most affected by this disease.
6. Those affected by Malaria care about you.
This is a softer point, but an important one. When the attacks happened in Paris this year, I got sympathy texts from friends in Malawi. They were upset that the Western world was under attack.
They don’t spend time worrying that Westerners “are more privileged.” They see them the same way they see everyone else: as people. And my guess is that if they could do something to help you, they would.
7. You can do something about it right now.
A lot of times the suffering of this world can be paralyzing. When you hear about government corruption, sex slavery or ISIS you might despair because you have no idea what can be done.
That’s not the case with Malaria. You can donate a mosquito net RIGHT NOW and watch me hand out the nets to a rural Malawian village in January.