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A Tragic Choice – Fight Malaria or Starve


 
A big net made out of mosquito nets. I can see it from here.
More than half a billion mosquito nets have been distributed around Africa in one of the greatest public health campaigns since the year 2000. These nets are the frontline against malaria; a killer that still claims hundreds of thousands of lives a year. But starvation is another deadly and persistent foe and many families are forced into making a horrible choice: protect themselves from malaria or leave themselves totally exposed and use the nets to catch fish. But even that has its own perils for the fish, for the people and for the environment.
Some are really, really small. They’re almost translucent. They must be a couple weeks old. So what we’re witnessing is the damaging of this environment for very, very little profit. They have raked this giant net through the breeding ground of these newly spawned fish and now a whole bunch are dead. We can see them on the bottom of the lake.
So, check this out: it’s a soccer goal made out of a mosquito net. This just shows you how ubiquitous these nets are. They’re put to a whole number of different uses.
These mosquito nets, they hold in the chickens and goats.
What’s this?
A mosquito net.
You’re making it into a rope?
Yes.
What’s it made from?
Mosquito nets.
I think this is very good.
The leading cause of death in this part of Tanzania is malaria.
In clinics, only the women are coming.
So, maybe the women could get some education when they get their nets. But the guy out in the village?
Yeah, he can do anything. Some of them, they think that, you know, these European countries introduced some poison through mosquito nets and they don’t want us to have a child and it leads to impotence and so on. And that’s why the cases of malaria annually are increasing, increasing, increasing.
Mosquito nets are helping countless people and saving millions of lives but there’s also some downsides to passing them out without proper education.
We heard the government said to use this is illegal. Is it true?
I can say our life is hard. We suffer a lot. That’s why, you see. That’s why we use this. To find [survival] here. So that we can get something to eat.

Source: nytimes


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