Today is World Malaria Day. It’s a day to reflect on an ancient disease that continues to kill and sicken so many people in the majority (developing) world.
Malaria accounts for one death every 30 seconds. Malaria kills more than 1 million people every year. Each year, between 350 million and 500 million people are infected with malaria.
Malaria plagued Europe and North America as recently as 60 years ago. Simple public health measures were crucial to eliminating the disease and helping those regions achieve growth, prosperity and stability. Many countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America have yet to achieve this level of control.
Public health officials have been trying to contain and control malaria for decades, most measures targeting the malaria vector mosquitoes. In recent years, educators have joined hands — for stopping malaria begins with awareness on how it spreads and what simple measures can be taken to prevent it.
The Buzz and Bite Campaign is one such awareness tool launched a year ago on World Malaria Day 2008. It consists of a series of 30 animated shorts and 5 audio shorts called Public Service Announcements (PSAs).
The Buzz and Bite Campaign is the creation of Canadian animation producer and director Firdaus Kharas, working with a team of skilled professionals. Firdaus earlier took on another public health challenge, HIV/AIDS, through his highly popular animation series The Three Amigos.
Watch a sample Buzz and Bite Spot (in English, British Accent)
According to the Buzz and Bite website, PSAs have so far been produced in 22 languages, and are being adapted into more. “The goal is to enable a potential reach of 80% of the world’s malaria at-risk population or over 5 billion people in their own language.”
See all language versions on Buzz and Bite channel on YouTube
The PSAs are available to any television broadcaster, radio station, NGO, hospital, doctor, community group, university, school, educator or other user, free of charge, anywhere in the world.
The campaign is strongly supported by Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond M. Tutu.
Malaria has been eradicated in many parts of the world but continues to thrive and even grow in other parts, especially in tropical areas. “This anti-malaria campaign focuses on sub-Saharan Africa (where up to 90 per cent of all malaria fatalities occur), on South America, and on South and South-East Asia, where the rates of malaria are alarmingly high,” says the website, adding: “Malaria is preventable. The easiest and cheapest way to prevent malaria infection is through the use of long-lasting insecticide-treated bed-nets (LLINs) which can last up to 5 years. This campaign promotes the use of nets.”
2 thoughts on “Buzz and Bite: PSA campaign against relentless malaria”
Explaining the danger in countries at risk is fundamental. And maybe videos like the one reported above could also be useful to remember all people all over the world that malaria exist and kills people even if we don’t hear anything about it. Information and awareness is crucial…
I’m not a biologist, but I have read that there are dozens of mosquito species. Only a few carry malaria, and that too, as you say, only the girl mozzies! (Their boys manage with fruit juice.)
In the tropics, we have other deadly or nasty diseases spread by mosquitoes – Dengue fever is one. Unlike malaria, dengue is just as prevalent in the urban districts of its range as in rural areas.
WHO says some 2.5 billion people, two fifths of the world’s population, are now at risk from dengue and estimates that there may be 50 million cases of dengue infection worldwide every year. The disease is now epidemic in more than 100 countries.
Dengue may not have the high visibility in the west that Malaria has, but it sure is a serious threat to our health. So future awareness campaigns should address not just malaria carriers but all mosquito-borne diseases.