If you think "World Malaria Day" is some sort of global celebration where everyone goes out and gets infected with malaria, you couldn't be further from correct. Malaria is a reeeally bad thing to get infected with, and World Malaria Day is actually an effort by a little place called the United Nations to end the disease forever. If you know what's good for you — and really, for over 200 million people worldwide — you'll take this opportunity to get yourself educated about the problem, and do something to fix it. Why? Because that's what World Malaria Day is all about: everyone doing a small part to nip nasty old malaria in the ass. Because malaria would do it to you, if given half a chance.
No really, it would.
Malaria is one of those diseases that affects developing countries, because they largely can't afford malaria-treating medications nor the repellents and insect nets that keep malaria-carrying mosquitoes at bay. (By the way, providing these nets is ridiculously easy and inexpensive, something you may have learned from Address the Mess and Stephen Colbert last week.) And the sad fact of the matter is that if malaria were a disease in richer countries, there would probably already be a cure.
Can you imagine if malaria were a giant mosquito… creeping around NYC?
So today, on World Malaria Day, the United Nations is teaming up with a whole slew of top-notch celebrities, political leaders, and everyday anti-malaria champions like you, to raise awareness about the disease. If you're in New York, check out the Champions to End Malaria Exhibit in the United Nations' North Gallery, keep your eyes peeled for malaria awareness videos on the jumbo screens in Times Square, and above all: look the hell out for that nasty Mozzie Mosquito.
If you're anywhere else in the world, take a moment to see what simple steps you can take to fight malaria. You could even win fabulous prizes. Not that helping people isn't a prize enough, of course — heck, it's the American way. But it's like the old joke goes…
Q: What's better than winning first prize in the "Nothing But Nets" Championship?
A: Not having malaria.