Good news about malaria

Good news:

Over the past 100 years, the mortality rate in the US has fallen by like 50%. Life expectancy at birth has gone up 30 years. The chief cause has been our ability to prevent and treat infectious diseases. In particular: tuberculosis, flu, pnemonia, diptheria, whooping cough, measles, smallpox, typhoid, and polio. From 1900 to today, infectious diseases went from killing 37% of Americans to 2%.

Bad news:

Outside of the US, infectious diseases are still big killers. One of the biggest is malaria. Malaria kills about 0.5M - 1M people a year. Two thirds are children. This works out to about 1,000 - 2,000 children a day being permanently separated from their families and painfully killed.

Good news:

Although we don’t yet have a cure for malaria, we do have an amazingly cheap way to prevent it. Sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet significantly reduces the odds of catching malaria from mosquitoes. In sub-Saharan Africa, a life will be saved for every $3,000 or so spent on bednets and distribution.

Great news:

Not only does bednet distribution work in theory, it works in practice. There is a charity out there that does this work: The Against Malaria Foundation. They have a long track record, are thoroughly vetted, operate transparently, spend little on overhead, and regularly test the effectiveness of their distribution programs.

Greater news:

The Against Malaria Foundation has been doing an awesome job of making deals with governments and recruiting/retaining talent. Right now, they are not held back by lack of people. They are not held back by lack of opportunities. They are not held back by lack of deals. The number one thing holding them back from saving more lives is money. Over the next 3 years, they have a projected funding gap of $620M - $730M.

There may never again be a time in history with an ROI as good as this. If the richest billion people on Earth each donated a quarter a year, we could seriously dent malaria and save over 100,000 children. Ditto if every American gave a dollar a year. Ditto if 1% of Americans gave $100 a year. Or if 0.01% gave $10,000.

Whatever feels reasonable to you, I encourage you to give.