Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

2nd Session, 39th Parliament,
Volume 144, Issue 17

Wednesday, November 28, 2007
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker

Fight Against Malaria

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, 3,000 African children die each day from malaria, the greatest killer of children under the age of five in sub-Saharan Africa. This rate equates to losing the life of an African child every 30 seconds from this preventable disease.

Recently, I had the privilege of meeting a registered nurse, Debra Lefebvre, a Canadian who is making a difference in the lives of African mothers through the Buy-A-Net Malaria Prevention Group. Debra founded this organization in 2004 to “supply anti-malaria nets and train one village at a time until this job is done.”

Right now, members of Buy-A-Net are on the ground in Uganda trying to supply 7.5 million bed nets. The Buy-A-Net team is lean, local, efficient and effective. To date, they have installed and committed over 20,000 anti-malaria nets. They cannot do this alone.

Obviously, time is of essence when the world loses a child to this disease every 30 seconds. It costs about $6 for a long-lasting treated net. Surely, more can be done to help them reach their goal.

Honourable senators, last week when I was in Uganda, I went to Mulago Hospital oncology unit to participate in a malaria net distribution with Buy-A-Net . There, I observed a three-year-old child with a huge cancerous tumour on her neck. She had been treated successfully. Unfortunately, that day she died of malaria.

I also had the opportunity to visit two villages. In one house, there were eight people. Four children were sleeping under a net. The other two children were suffering from malaria, as that household could get only one net through this program.

What is heartbreaking about all this situation is that malaria is completely a preventable disease.

Honourable senators, as we come up to the festive season, I urge all of us to make individual and collective Senate legacies to stamp out malaria in Africa. One of the solutions is this program. To quote Debra Lefebvre, “Every night a net is hung, lives are saved.”