The recently-created Global Health Forum will cap off a week of anti-malaria events today with a talk by world-renowned malaria expert Dr. Terrie Taylor ’77, but hopes to continue raising funds through the end of the month to purchase bednets for children in the Acholi Quarter in Uganda.
Global Health Forum founder Mark Dlugash ’08 said that “we’ve been working very hard on this campaign, and students have been very generous… it shows that everyone wants to do good and everyone wants to help, and we want to provide a specific concrete way for people to help.”
Students aren’t the only ones who have pitched in–when Dlugash and other members of Global Health Forum gave a presentation to a meeting of the Alumni Council, “we didn’t know it, but someone passed around a cup for donations and we raised $290 right there.”
Dlugash thinks that much of the appeal of the campaign is in its sustainable and concrete results. The campaign has been working with “Against Malaria,” a grassroots non-profit which provides the logistics for distributing long-lasting insecticidal bednets and educating communities about them.
In all, the campaign has raised over $3,000 so far, and Dlugash says the goal is $10,000. Since nets can be purchased for only $5, this would mean at least one bednet for every Swarthmore student, and 2,000 in all.
Another appealing part of the campaign is that it is community-based. Studies have shown that once 70% of people in one community are using bednets, malaria incidence drops dramatically. Furthermore, the Acholi Quarter is a refugee community in Uganda of about 10,000 where Katie Camillus ’08 started a microloan project, so “we’re helping amazing people who we know.” Dlugash continued, “when I started talking with them, they didn’t even think bednets were a possibility–they’re just thinking in terms of
‘Will I able to afford a cure?’ and not of prevention. These bednets will be an amazing help.”
Tonight at 7:30 PM in Science Center 101, Dr. Terrie Taylor will be giving a talk titled “The Burden of Malaria and What Can Be Done to Alleviate It.” Dlugash explained that “she spends six months a year in Malawi running a children’s clinic and all sorts of things.” The group found Taylor through a profile in the College Bulletin and realized she would be a perfect speaker for the event.
If you still want to donate–and Dlugash says the fundraising campaign will probably run through the end of November–the easiest way is at http://www.MadnessAgainstMalaria.com/GlobalHealthForum.
Next semester, the Global Health Forum hopes to do a smaller-scale project focused on HIV/AIDS. “I definitely want us to do another community-based project, and we’re still looking for something specific… we’re excited about it.”