Monday, December 04, 2006

World: Nothing But Nets, an update

A little while ago, I posted on the Nothing But Nets campaign to collect money to buy mosquito nets to send to Africa.

Rick Reilly wrote a follow up to the column he first wrote back in April.

The idea is simple: $10 allows a net to be bought and sent to Africa to save a life or two. These bed nets allow someone to sleep inside it at night and keeps the mosquitos that spread malaria away.

Here is an excerpt from Reilly's first article:
I've never asked for anything before, right? Well, sorry, I'm asking now.

We need nets. Not hoop nets, soccer nets or lacrosse nets. Not New Jersey Nets or dot-nets or clarinets. Mosquito nets.

See, nearly 3,000 kids die every day in Africa from malaria. And according to the World Health Organization, transmission of the disease would be reduced by 60% with the use of mosquito nets and prompt treatment for the infected.

Three thousand kids! That's a 9/11 every day!
We gotta get these nets. They're coated with an insecticide and cost between $4 and $6. You need about $10, all told, to get them shipped and installed. Some nets can cover a family of four. And they last four years. If we can cut the spread of disease, 10 bucks means a kid might get to live. Make it $20 and more kids are saved.
Here is an excerpt from his recent follow up column:
It was the alltime no-brainer. Skip lunch; save a life. Buy the Top-Flites instead of the Titleists; save a life. Don't bet on the Redskins; save a life. Nothing to research. No government to topple. No warlords to fight.

Bless your little hearts, all 17,000-plus of you who chipped in more than $1.2 million -- enough to buy 150,000 nets, which the United Nations Foundation and the World Health Organization started hanging all over Nigeria, where kids younger than five are getting murdered by mosquitoes that come out only at night.

I know, because I saw the nets. Just got back. Feel a little bad about going without you. After all, it was your money. So let's pretend it was you who made the trip, not me.
And they'd play a soccer game in your honor that featured nine-year-olds who played like 14-year-olds in the U.S., on fields full of weeds and trash, with goals made of tree branches. In three games the closest thing you saw to a boy with shoes was a set of brothers who wore one sock each.

And they'd hand you the mike, and you'd try to say how blown away you were and how you wished you could raise 100 times more in donations, because already one hospital in Nigeria is saying that since the nets went up, outpatient cases of malaria have dropped from 80 a month to 50. But they'd all put their hands to their ears and go, "What?"

When you bribed the drummers into taking a union break, you finally met the people you'll never forget: the mothers. Turns out they're nothing but nuts about the nets. In fact, so many mothers want the nets that to get one, the World Health Organization requires them to bring their kids in for a measles vaccination. How often do you get two for one on diseases?

You met a mother who walked half a day to get a net. You met a woman who sleeps with her four kids under her net, maybe because she knows that three out of every 10 child deaths in Nigeria are from malaria.


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