Statement made on 22 April 2010 by Senator Rod Zimmer
Hon. Rod A.A. Zimmer:
Honourable senators, on Sunday April 25, 2010, the world celebrates World Malaria Day. Malaria is a disease of the blood, which is transmitted from certain types of mosquitoes which carry a one-cell parasite called plasmodium.
This disease is most fatal in countries of sub-Saharan Africa, especially amongst the children of those countries whose immature immune systems make them even more vulnerable. To give you an idea of how vulnerable they are, it is reported that every 30 seconds a child dies of malaria.
This disease is 100 per cent controllable and treatable. However, many of the affected countries lack the necessary resources required to control and treat malaria.
Many Canadian organizations such as the Spread the Net campaign, founded by the Honourable Belinda Stronach and Rick Mercer, under the umbrella of the Belinda Stronach Foundation, of which I am a board member, have been doing an excellent job of raising awareness about malaria and raising funds to provide families with insecticide-treated bed nets. These bed nets have been shown to reduce malaria transmissions by more than 50 per cent or more.
Honourable senators, the United Nations Special Envoy for Malaria was established in 2008 to ensure the global community was on track to achieve the goal of universal coverage by 2010. Universal coverage means that every man, woman and child in Africa whose beds need a net have one by December 2010.
The UN special envoy estimates that 348 million nets are needed to achieve universal coverage. 192 million nets have been delivered. 159 million more are needed.
Earlier this week, an all-party malaria caucus, co-chaired by our colleague Senator Jaffer, organized an excellent performance on malaria by a group of students ranging from the age of six to sixteen called the Not So Amateur Amateurs. It is extremely enlightening to know that the youth of our country are doing their part to spread awareness of malaria.
It is extremely important that we continue our efforts to support this fight. The public and private sectors must work together to provide effective and accessible preventions and treatments so all children will have the chance to reach their full potential.
Honourable senators, the world's efforts to combat this disease have been effective, and we have seen the decrease in fatalities, but more can still be done and needs to be done. Please offer your support to save the lives of these vulnerable children.