World Malaria Day: A day to recognize progress and reignite passion
Last week the 5th annual World Health Organization's (WHO) “World Malaria Day.” As the WHO states on their website, it is a day for “recognizing the global effort to provide effective control of malaria.” It was a chance for us as Faiths Act Fellows to highlight the efforts we’ve been making all year to bring this fight to the forefront of our various religious communities and work collaboratively towards its eradication. It was our chance to remind ourselves what we have been working for and towards. It helped to remind us why we have devoted all the hours, sent all the emails, held the events.
On World Malaria Day we had the chance to look back at how far the fight to eliminate malaria has come and recognize that it’s not a losing battle; the end is in sight and within our grasp. When we began the Faiths Act fellowship in August we were told that a child under the age of 5 dies of malaria every 45 seconds. Since then, this devastating statistic has improved, ever so slightly, to every 60 seconds. While this is still heartbreaking, this represents many thousands of lives being spared; an improvement and progress that should not be overlooked.
To commemorate this day the Canadian Faiths Act Fellows worked together to bring awareness about malaria to the streets, to religious communities and to parliamentarians. We met with passerby’s in downtown Toronto and tourists at Niagara Falls. We met with students and student leaders at MacMaster and Queen’s Universities. We met with churches, synagogues and members of Ottawa’s Baha’i community. We also set up meetings to discuss action on malaria with six different members of parliment from all political parties including Patrick Brown; co-chair of the All-Party Caucus on Ending Malaria. There was an overwhelming positive response to the work of Faiths Act and a collective agreement to be part of the movement to end malaria.
World Malaria Day was a day to reflect and recognize the progress of the global effort, a day to remind ourselves what and why we are fighting for and to reignite our passion to combat malaria. We have two more months of this fellowship and we will do everything within our power to work tirelessly the next two months towards achieving our goals. Malaria isn’t a global health crisis for one day only; and we will continue to spread the message and work towards this cause for many more days to come.
Davina Finn, Faiths Act Fellow