SEATTLE — Nia Long is an American television actress known for her roles in popular television shows such as “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” and “Empire.” In addition to her on-screen job, Nia has set herself a personal goal to end the fight against malaria worldwide.
Malaria is a disease transferred through the bite of an Anopheles mosquito. These bugs often come out at night and attack when people are asleep. Almost half of the world’s population is at risk for malaria, leading to hundreds of thousands of deaths per year, despite the fact that the disease is preventable. Those who are most susceptible to acquiring malaria are refugees, women and children. In 2015, there were 429,000 deaths due to malaria, with 70 percent of those being children under five.
In hopes of saving as many lives as possible, Nia Long and her son Massai Dorsey Jr. traveled to one of the world’s largest refugee camps in Tanzania. Long and Dorsey Jr. partnered with the Nothing But Nets team, bringing insecticide-treated mosquito nets with them to distribute to families at the camp.
Nothing But Nets was started in 2006 when a Sports Illustrated columnist challenged his readers to donate $10 or more to insecticide-treated bed nets. Ever since the column was published, the organization has been able to raise over $60 million dand deliver more than 10 million bed nets as well as provide diagnostics, treatment and training to healthcare workers around the world.
During her trip with the organization, Long has been active on her Twitter account, keeping her fans up to date on the work she’s been doing. She has recently posted pictures of her meeting with families at women’s clinics, where many people suffer from malaria, as well as photos of her and her son hanging the insecticide-treated mosquito nets.
– Olivia Hayes