The Iowa United Nations Association hosted their second annual “Nothing But Nets” soccer tournament this past weekend to raise money for insecticide-treated bed nets that will help families in sub-Saharan Africa prevent malaria from mosquito bites.
The soccer tournament included nearly 80 participants who represented a variety of University of Iowa student groups – all of whom donated $10 to participate in playing the game – which is also the cost of providing a bed net.
“We’re playing to save lives today,” said Emily McGovern, an intern for the Iowa UNA and tournament coordinator. “It’s $10 for one net and an entire family can sleep under the net so basically it’s $10 to save a family.”
Malaria, according to the World Health Organization is both preventable and curable, but still, as of 2010 more than 600,000 people died from the illness. Most of those deaths occur in children in sub-Saharan Africa, where many prevention methods and treatments are unaffordable.
Bed nets, like the ones provided by the Iowa UNA fundraiser this weekend, are coated in insecticide and, according to the Centers for Disease Control, have been show to reduce death in children under 5 years old by about 20 percent.
The money raised will go towards purchasing nets and provide research for creating more effective and long-lasting insecticide for future nets. Donations are welcome at iowauna.org.