You can look at more facts and a map at http://www.rollbackmalaria.org/worldmalariaday/
Why should we try to prevent this disease? Well, firstly, it would really not be fun to catch. I knew a person who had it and barely survived. It really sounded like it sucks. So, if I was at risk for Malaria and couldn’t afford something basic to help prevent it, I would really appreciate a rich American (yes, you live off of more than one dollar, two dollars, five dollars, or one hundred dollars a day . . . you are rich) sharing a little of what they have (forgoing a few Starbucks drinks or big macs) to help save my life. Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you, right?
But really, although I often am disgusted by rich americans (mainly, myself), I think we have a better reason to help someone than just for the sake of helping them. As a follower of Jesus, I represent Him on earth. He didn’t command much (love God; love people)- but one thing He did say to do was to love people. Although the greatest needs people have are spiritual (and for me to best love people would be to help them find spiritual fulfillment in God), their physical and emotional needs are right in front of them. Our “felt” needs totally feel more important than our spiritual. So, sometimes helping people meet these needs helps them be open to meeting their spiritual needs. Jesus understood this, going out of His way to be an example of loving people by meeting their felt needs. Therefore, I should do what I can to help people know they are loved by God by acting on His behalf to feed, cloth, and comfort others. Especially when its in my means, I have no excuse whatsoever to not help others with their felt needs. Because in that case, the only thing I am giving up is having a different standard of life. Less Coldstone ice creams, less new sets of curtains, less new cell phones. All the stuff I think will make me happy. And it doesn’t in comparison to seeing someone else smile because they now have a chance to live.