The holidays came early this year for the global health community, with news that malaria deaths globally are at an all-time low. According to the World Health Organization's annual World Malaria Report, mortality rates from the disease have fallen dramatically to 584,000 annually -- including a 58 percent decline in child deaths in Africa.
Ray Chambers and Jo Yirrell wanted to make sure that no other parent would be in our position. And so I started to tell Harry's story, firstly to other future travelers and then in 2009, I became a Special Ambassador for Malaria No More UK, a charity on the front line of the global fight against malaria.
Until a few weeks ago the thought of getting malaria had never crossed my mind as I'm fortunate to live in a US city where malaria is not a problem. Even when I travel to tropical areas like my parents' home country of Panama where mosquitoes eat me alive, I'm not worried as malaria is no longer present in that part of the country. This is a stark contrast to my recent trip with Malaria No More UK to Ghana, West Africa, where malaria affects the entire population of 24 million people and is a leading cause of death amongst young children. The charity has released a short film today about my trip - I went to learn as much as I could about malaria and the work happening to make sure every home in the country has a mosquito net by the end of this year.