Two people climbed the NYTimes building today. The initial reports seem to focus on the first ascender, a green activist with some stupid message about global warming, as if global warming needs any more media attention. However, soon after the first ascent, Renaldo Clarke began an ascent with a decidedly different message about a cause that actually doesn’t get much media attention, Malaria.
Rey wore a shirt that said “Malaria No More,” and actively promoted the eradication of the disease during his arrest, after completing the 52 story climb. Naturally, the Times got the best shots of Rey’s Climb, and they are preparing a full story for tomorrow’s paper. There’s also an interesting story on the reaction of Rey’s father to the news in the Atlanta Journal Constitution. In honor of a worthy cause, here are the stats on Malaria.
Malaria is one of the most severe public health problems worldwide. It is a leading cause of death and disease in many developing countries. It kills over a million people each year – mostly children living in Sub-Saharan Africa.
According to the World Health Organization’s World Malaria Report 2005:
- At the end of 2004, some 3.2 billion people lived in areas at risk of malaria transmission in 107 countries and territories.
- Between 350 and 500 million clinical episodes of malaria occur every year.
- At least one million deaths occur every year due to malaria.
- About 60% of the cases of malaria worldwide and more than 80% of the malaria deaths worldwide occur in Africa south of the Sahara.
Malaria kills mostly Africans, so it does not get much media attention from privileged white liberals like the first climber. These types tend to be more concerned with enacting policies, which will make the cost of energy and food so expensive that the majority of the world’s population will simply starve and die.
Let’s hope that Rey’s message about Malaria can move the needle a bit on a controllable disease, which has become a pandemic through neglect. With 1 million dead babies every year, I think it is about time we rethink our irrational fears about DDT and explore all options available to fight Malaria.