SFU team raises $8,400 for mosquito nets to Africa

January 24, 2008

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By: Stuart Colcleugh

An SFU team from the biology department and the health sciences faculty raised $8,400 to buy anti-malaria mosquito nets for children in Africa as part of UNICEF’s national Spread the Net campus challenge.

“These donations will help a significant number of children, and will greatly improve many lives,” says biologist Carl Lowenberger, who spearheaded the SFU campaign in collaboration with biology PhD student Jerry Ericsson.

SFU placed fourth among 73 teams from 35 Canadian universities and colleges participating in the four-month fundraiser, co-hosted by broadcaster Rick Mercer and former MP Belinda Stronach, which raised about $113,000 in total.

“Bed nets are the simplest and most effective protection against malaria because they protect people, mainly children, from mosquitoes that like to bite while you sleep,” says Lowenberger, who holds a Canada Research Chair in parasitology and vectors of disease.

Malaria has the greatest impact on children, killing 3,000 children a day in Africa, and Lowenberger says “those who live in malaria-endemic areas typically cannot afford these insecticide-treated nets.”

He says the campaign was “close to the hearts of the students in our lab because we work with insect-borne diseases, including malaria, and we work in developing countries where these diseases are prevalent, so we know the impact this disease can have on families and communities.”

The winning campus, Dalhousie, will be featured in an upcoming episode of Mercer’s CBC TV program The Mercer Report.

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