The moral test of any society is how it treats its most vulnerable. Malaria is a preventable and treatable disease, though it kills thousands of people each year and cripples Africa’s economy.
Malaria keeps families and children in poverty because children are forced to stay home from school, parents must miss work to care for sick children, and because of reduced productivity, tourism and business investments plummet.
Our tradition teaches that we cannot “stand idly by the blood of our neighbor” (Leviticus 19:16) and must pursue healing, rodeph rephuah. In today’s increasingly global society, we are all neighbors. By limiting the aid we provide to fight malaria, we limit our help to those who need us to prevent and overcome the disease and the cycle of poverty it produces.
In 2005, the Union for Reform Judaism adopted a resolution on Ending Global Poverty, which endorses the Millennium Development Goals. Eradicating malaria by 2015 is one of the Millennium Development Goals. Together, with the Union for Reform Judaism and Nothing But Nets, we can destroy this deadly disease.
Whoever saves a life saves the entire world.