Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

3rd Session, 40th Parliament,
Volume 147, Issue 18

Tuesday, April 20, 2010
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker

World Malaria Day

Hon. Mobina S.B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, Africans are facing genocide by malaria. One million Africans die of malaria every year. On behalf of Senator Segal, Patrick Brown, member of Parliament, and the All Party Parliamentary Malaria Caucus, I rise to invite honourable senators to an event this evening to reflect on World Malaria Day.

Today is a special day because grade 10 students from Senator Segal’s area are coming to tell us a story about malaria. Twenty students and their teachers will attend to share with us their experience with malaria. This group, The Not So Amateur Amateurs, will perform a 10-minute play under the direction of Ms. Kristine Harvey.

Honourable senators, in 2007, I accompanied the Prime Minister to Uganda for the Commonwealth conference. As part of that, and on behalf of our country, I, along with our officials, visited a boarding school of senior students, who were the same ages as the students performing for us this evening. The students were pleased to meet with us. They could not thank Canadians enough for helping them to acquire insecticide-treated nets.

They proudly told us that they now miss less school. In the past, they missed up to eight weeks of school, but now were missing only three weeks of school. One of the students proudly pointed out that their grades were improving. I was very proud and truly happy that day to be Canadian. I had returned to my country of birth with my Prime Minister, Stephen Harper.

When I met with the principal my mood quickly changed. He told me they had limited nets and faced the hard task of choosing which students received one. He told me it was like playing God.

Honourable senators, the principal went on to tell me that one of his hardest jobs is to contact parents to tell them that their precious child has died of malaria. Often, because of the distance to where the parents live or because of the lack of parents’ resources, he has to bury the child without the parents present.

The principal told me that when parents send their children to school, they say goodbye to their child and say, “If you return, I want you to become a doctor, lawyer or teacher.” When we say goodbye to our precious children, we say, “When you return from school, I want you to become a doctor, lawyer or teacher.”

On this World Malaria Day, I know that each of us will count our blessings and will want to work to stop the annual genocide of Africans by malaria.

Senator Segal and I ask all honourable senators to come and encourage the enthusiasm of these students. I know that you will agree with me after seeing their performance that we can be very proud of these and other students who look beyond our borders to improve the lives of fellow students.

[Translation]

Please attend this evening to encourage these students and hear their message. They need your support.

[English]

In the three minutes it has taken to give this declaration, six children have died in Africa. In Africa, a person dies of malaria every 30 seconds.

 

 

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