We had just finished a three hour Sunday service at the Unyama church. At the end of the service, a young mom came forward with a very sick little girl and asked Pastor Willy to pray for her. He lifted her up in his arms toward heaven and asked God to heal her. As we left the church I asked the young, concerned mom if she knew what was wrong with her precious daughter. She replied, “Yes, she has malaria.” I asked her if she had the money to get the medicine that would cure her. She said, “No, I don’t have any money to get the medicine.” I immediately reached into my pocket to give her the money she needed. Cost of the medicine to save her baby’s life- $1.75.

On another day, we sat under the tree with Momma Molly’s jewelry girls. A good chunk of our time together was spent simply getting acquainted with each other. I love asking questions to better understand the daily lives and the challenges of the people that I want to help. As we talked, it became apparent that malaria was a deep concern for all of the women. This deadly virus is carried by tiny mosquitoes. But one small bite can quickly terminate a life. In fact, three of them had buried their small children for lack of a mosquito net or the meds necessary to counteract the deadly bite. Cost of a treated mosquito net-$5.00.

Malaria is endemic in Uganda accounting for 25-40% of outpatient visits to health facilities and nearly half of inpatient pediatric deaths. Malaria kills a child in Africa every 30 seconds and nearly one million people each year worldwide. About 3.3 billion people are at risk for malaria and that’s nearly half of the world population. According to global reports, 85% of malaria deaths in Africa are children under 5 years of age. Another high risk population is pregnant women.

Anyone who is a mom of an infant or toddler can identify with the deep concern a momma feels when her child is sick. But few moms in America have stood at the graveside of their child for a lack of five bucks for a mosquito net or $1.75 for medicine! It is heart-breaking, gut wrenching, unthinkable!

Our efforts were admittedly small. They were a mere drop in an endless sea of need. However, we acted immediately with what we saw. The lady at church received the money she needed to get the medicine to save her baby’s life. As for Momma Molly’s girls? We bought treated mosquito nets for all their kids under five- there were 22 of them. With rainy season just around the corner, these moms can have a little more peace of mind knowing that their sweet little kids will be sleeping more securely under the safety of a treated mosquito net.

If you have toddlers to tuck in tonight… please remember these kids in your prayers. Going to sleep isn’t as safe for all the children of the world.