Ending malaria with “Nothing But Nets”

Posted September 20, 2010

When Laci Butler heard about the medical mission work Brad Gautney (’91) was doing around the world, she jumped at the opportunity to talk to him about how to make a difference with her nursing degree right now.

Nothing But NetsGautney’s reply, “Well it’s funny you ask…” 

Global Health Innovations, a faith-based, non-profit, international health organization, of which Gautney is president, is in the midst of a campaign, “Nothing But Nets,” which calls on college students to raise money for insecticide-treated mosquito nets to send to Malawi, Africa.

The campaign’s purpose is to end malaria, a deadly but completely preventable disease, by distributing the nets to the people of Malawi one village at a time. A donation of $8 allows GHI to purchase one net.

“These mosquito nets have proven to be the most effective and cost-effective method of preventing malaria on several levels in countries like Malawi,” says Gautney. “For just $8, someone can actually save the life of at least two children.”

Through GHI’s partners on the ground in Malawi, the nets are distributed directly to the people. When the nets are distributed, the people receiving them are also educated on how to recognize early signs and symptoms of malaria so treatment can be sought out immediately.

“The statistics on malaria are sobering,” says Gautney.

  • More than 1 million die every year from malaria, mostly in Africa
  • In Africa alone, a child dies every 30 seconds from malaria
  • The disease infects 350-500 million people every year

“The thing to remember is that each ‘statistic’ has a name and a face, a family and place in someone's heart,” says Butler, a sophomore nursing major from Sunnyvale, Texas. “I joined this campaign because it's so easy for college students to contribute. One mosquito net is the equivalent to a movie ticket or a meal, and so many lives can be saved with just that one donation."

According to Gautney, although HIV/AIDS has a devastating impact on all aspects of life for the people of Malawi, especially children and pregnant mothers, malaria actually kills twice as many children under the age of 5 than AIDS in Malawi.

To help spread the word on the ACU campus, each Wednesday after chapel, students are gathering under one of the mosquito nets outside of Moody Coliseum to show how many lives can changed with “Nothing But Nets.” Lipscomb University and Pepperdine University are competing with ACU to see who can get the most people under a single net. With 37 people, ACU is winning the competition so far.

Global Health Innovations exists to design, implement and manage programs that treat and prevent deadly diseases such as HIV/AIDS and malaria in children and pregnant mothers living in poverty-stricken areas around the world.

For more information or to donate to “Nothing But Nets,” visit www.crowdrise.com/abilenechristian. For more information about Global Health Innovations, visit www.globalhealthinnovations.org.