Nets Fight

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Several months ago, Sports Illustrated columnist Rick Reilly came up with the idea to invite sports fans to help raise money for nets of another kind -- nets to prevent malaria. His simple suggestion has already raised millions of dollars, and NBA Cares has sent some basketball stars to Africa to promote the program. Kim Riemland has the play by play.                

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(Locator: Luanda, Angola, Africa)

It’s a scene repeated every day in Angola, Africa…children being brought in to crowded hospitals and clinics for treatment of malaria.

Julhia Mauricio/Mother of Malaria Patient (through translator): “I’m concerned for the life of my child.”

Many deaths could be prevented with the use of insecticide-treated nets to ward off the mosquitoes that cause the disease. But there are not enough nets to go around.

Dr. Laurenda Quipungo/Pediatrician (through translator): “And the cases are so many that sometimes our government really cannot handle the volume of cases.”

The “Nothing But Nets” campaign is taking aim at Africa’s biggest killer of children. Partners include: the people of the United Methodist Church, the United Nations Foundation and NBA Cares.

Ruth Riley/WNBA Player: “I think that what has touched me the most is a small contribution on my part and on everyone’s part if they make, to make a difference and to save people’s lives. I leave here wanting just to give everyone a net.”

Most Angola residents live in poverty and are illiterate. Malaria makes those problems even worse, overloading the health care system and causing children to miss an average of 25 days of school every year.

Bishop Gaspar Joao Domingos/United Methodist Bishop, Western Angola: “Most of them, they live with two U.S. dollars a day. Most of them, they don’t care about how to protect against malaria because they want to eat.”

It costs ten dollars to send a net and provide health-care workers to show residents how to use them.

Dr. Magrida Correa/Pediatrician (through translator): “There is no heart or no mind that can put up with the level of suffering that we’ve seen. How I wish that this would not be necessary.”

And at a hospital where an average of ten children die every day, doctors are hoping for relief.


Malaria infects nearly 500-million people every year, and more than a million of them die. More information on the campaign, and how sports teams, churches and other groups can get involved, is on the Web at