There is a mosquito buzzing around my ear. I turn on my flashlight and try to smash it between my hands. Normally, I take a Gandhian approach the killing of animals and insects, but here in southern Sudan, it's kill or be killed.
Mosquitoes are the insect vectors for many nasty diseases: malaria, dengue, yellow fever, and of course, West Nile Virus, the infection that has given mosquitoes such a bad name in North America in recent years. But here in southern Sudan, and indeed in the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa, malaria is by far the most important disease carried by mosquitoes. I finally succeed in squashing the mosquito between my palms. Too late, it's full of blood, probably my own. I tuck my bed net in under my mattress a bit tighter and reassure myself that I did take my malaria prophylaxis on Saturday, my malaria day.
There are 300-500 million new cases of malaria every year in the world and 1-2 million deaths, of these, 90% occur south of the Sahara.