Signe Wilkinson cartoons for the Philadelphia Daily News. She won a Pulitzer for political cartoons in 1992, the first woman to win that award (about time!).
Malaria plagues too many nations, still. Between 400 million and 500 million people in the world get infected with one form of the malaria parasites every year. About a million die, most of those children. Death disproportionately strikes pregnant women, too.
Advances in medicines and advances in controls of the insects that help transmit the disease led to several campaigns to eradicate the disease over the past 60 years. Malaria no longer torments most of Europe and most of North America, but it remains a serious, economy-crippling disease across Africa and Asia.
Malaria also poses as a political football. Over the next couple of weeks you can find dozens of articles on valiant efforts to fight malaria, including the RollBack Malaria Campaign, and efforts by the Gates Foundation and histories of the work of the Rockefeller Foundation. But you can also find a pernicious political campaign against malaria fighters and “environmentalists,” claiming that DDT is a magic potion that could have ridded the world of malaria by killing off all the mosquitoes, if only that great mass murderer, Rachel Carson, had not imposed her will on the unstable dictators of African nations who did all they could to prove to Ms. Carson that they were environmentally friendly by banning DDT.
All of that is a crock. But we see it every year.
It’s already shown up in the formerly-known-as-accurate Wall Street Journal, European edition. (Please watch — I may have more to say on that piece, later.)
Over the next two weeks I will ask myself a hundred times, why do these people fiddle with trying to impugn scientists, physicians and environmentalists, while fevers burn in the brains of children across Africa and Asia?
With action, hope is that we can save the million lives lost annually by stopping malaria, by 2015. Please consider joining the effort.
You should wonder about that, too. If you find a good answer, please let me know.