Mosquitos are insects which are found primarily in tropical and sub-tropical areas of the world. One species, the anopheles mosquito, is particularly dangerous because when it bites someone it can transmit a parasite which then enters the blood stream and causes malaria.
Mosquitos feed on fruit and plant nectar. However the female species also needs protein found in blood to help her eggs develop so it is only the female of the species that bites.
Mosquitos lay their eggs in stagnant water where the larvae grow and then pupate as they change into flying insects. Therefore there are always very high numbers of mosquitos near stagnant water and many people in the third world are dependent on waterholes for their water supply.
Malaria symptoms include a high fever, headache and vomiting to which young people under the age of 5 years are particularly vulnerable.
Lack of vaccines
We have all suffered infectious diseases when we were young and usually recovered with no subsequent effects. Increasingly we are being immunised when we are young with vaccines that will prevent us catching these diseases. However NO vaccine is yet available to protect one against malaria, an illness which is endemic in the tropical areas of the world, particularly Africa. .
Almost half the world’s population are at risk of malaria, of which about one third are at high risk. The burden of malaria around the world is huge with an estimated 200 million cases of malaria in 2013 resulting in 600,000 deaths, most of whom were children under 5 years of age living in sub tropical Africa.
The safest form of prevention is sleeping under a long-lasting insecticide-impregnated net which protects the sleeper at night, when the mosquitos are most likely to bite.
In 2013 one third of households in sub-Saharan Africa did not have a single insecticide treated net, and over half the population at greatest risk from malaria still sleep unprotected by mosquito nets..
So if each Scout could raise or save money for the badge, they too could save a life.
What Scouts in Uganda can do
Following suitable training sessions, Ugandan Scouts can help publicise the use of these nets to prevent malaria, distribute the nets and demonstrate how the nets should be correctly used.
In this way both your Scouts and Ugandan Scouts will be able to earn and wear a badge called Scouts against malaria.