Home » Health » Afrika Speaks Prevents Malaria Through Art

Art has a voice! It is a voice that any human being, whether whole, blind or deaf can hear. In a world where there is so much ‘noise’, we need art to help draw attention to what is important and to raise social awareness about important issues.

Afrika Speaks understands that the world revolves around people’s thoughts, perceptions and emotions. Minds can be effectively opened through art by giving visual representations of opinions and causes.

One cause worth highlighting is the Afrika Speaks campaign to fight malaria. As part of the Afrika Speaks International Moving Arts Festival, they are creating a 54m malaria art banner that tells the story of who is at risk of malaria. The banner will also share transmission, treatment and most importantly how to prevent malaria.

“Art inspires creativity and brings people together for the common good. The malaria art banner will teach, motivate and inspire young adults to be a part of the solution to a major disease in Zimbabwe,” says Munyaradzi Muzenda, Director of Afrika Speaks.

“The havoc that malaria is causing to pregnant women and the youth of Africa can be stopped and lives can be saved. An innovative approach was needed to reach the high-risk populations and art education is a perfect medium as it engages communities through a platform that people love — artistic expression,” adds Muzenda.

According to the World Health Organization, half of the population is at risk of being infected — especially pregnant women, young children and the immune compromised.

When a mosquito bites an infected person, the mosquito becomes the carrier of microscopic malaria parasites. When the mosquito bites again, these parasites mix with the mosquito’s saliva and are injected into the new person.

Unknown to most, malaria can be transmitted during pregnancy before andor during childbirth. Malaria contracted at this time is called congenital malaria and is a major cause of infant death.

Malaria co-infection is another major concern and occurs when two or more diseases are present at the same time. Pregnant women who have co-infection of HIV and malaria often suffer from anaemia, pre-term birth and low-birth weight babies.

Currently, there is no antimalarial medication or vaccine that gives complete protection. The best line of defence is prevention and reducing the risk of mosquito bites. Take the following steps to reduce the risk of malaria:

Avoid going out between dusk and dawn when mosquitos are most active

Wear long-sleeved clothing and long trousers

Use insecticide-treated nets in bedrooms at night

Apply insect repellent on any exposed skin and use indoor residual sprays in the home

Get rid of stagnant water — especially near mines, farms and brick-making operations.

As a basic guideline for protection against malaria, United Against Malaria recommends the distribution of two long-lasting insecticide-treated nets (LLINs) per person.

This standard typically provides two to five years of protection for a family, depending upon the size of the family, the type of net, the number of washings and the degree of care given. The average purchase cost is USD 5 per net.

Afrika Speaks is actively engaging local artists, musicians, talents, etc. as well as other key stakeholders such as print and electronic media, mobile companies and corporates to help bring art to life throughout Zimbabwe.

As part of corporate social responsibility and other goodwill community efforts, Afrika Speaks is also looking to facilitate the donation LLINs to high-risk communities throughout Zimbabwe. To get involved, you can contact Afrika Speaks at: 0775 289 273 or via email at: africanmovingarts@gmail.com

The writer is a doctor and an international health columnist that works in collaboration with the World Health Organization’s goals of disease prevention and control. Views do not necessarily reflect endorsement.

Source : The Herald