Mission to Mali

Chicago Fire midfielder Diego Gutierrez and Houston Dynamo midfielder Dwayne De Rosario will be traveling to the African nation of Mali as part of a UN Foundation delegation that includes spokespeople for the Nothing But Nets campaign. While there, the two MLS stars will observe the distribution of over two million long-lasting, insecticide-treated bed nets to children and their families, in hopes of combating malaria.

More than 800,000 cases of malaria are reported annually in Mali, a nation of 11 million people, but the actual number of infections is probably closer to two million, according to the country's Health Ministry.

Malaria is a life-threatening parasitic disease transmitted by mosquitoes. The World Health Organization's statistics say malaria accounts for 17% of child deaths in Mali. One in five Malian children die before their fifth birthday, making the country one of the unhealthiest places to be born in the world.

Statistics show that use of insecticide-treated bed nets can reduce transmission as much as 90% in areas with high coverage rates. One bed net costs just $10 to buy and deliver to individuals in need. One bed net can safely last a family for about four years because of a long-lasting insecticide woven into the net fabric.

Check out the Nothing But Nets site here and please donate if you can.

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