Photos show the consequences of malaria

'Malaria: Blood, Sweat and Tears,' is the work of American photographer Adam Nadel and was brought to the UAE by the Roll Back Malaria Initiative.
Adam Nadel, the American photographer who spent about six weeks taking photos in Asia and Africa for  ‘Malaria: Blood, Sweat and Tears’, which opened on May 5, 2014 at the Emirates Palace hotel. Lee Hoagland / The National
Adam Nadel, the American photographer who spent about six weeks taking photos in Asia and Africa for ‘Malaria: Blood, Sweat and Tears’, which opened on May 5, 2014 at the Emirates Palace hotel. Lee Hoagland / The National

ABU DHABI // A photography exhibition designed to educate people on malaria and its consequences has opened at the Emirates Palace hotel.

“Malaria: Blood, Sweat and Tears,” is the work of American photographer Adam Nadel and was brought to the UAE by the Roll Back Malaria Initiative.

Although preventable, malaria is believed to kill about half a million children each year, and by working with international partners RBM is able to take supplies to affected parts of the world, including Africa and Asia.

“One thing that really strikes you when you are out in the field is people know what the disease is and what it can do,” Mr Nadel said.

“The fact is, it is an economic barrier that prohibits successfully avoiding contraction.

“Once you get it, it is a rabbit hole. What really struck me is the reason this exhibition works, because the people let me photograph them. The people I photographed knew the importance and tragedy associated with the disease.”

The exhibition was originally commissioned by the Malaria Consortium in 2009 and has been touring the world since 2010.

Mr Nadel spent about six weeks shooting in Uganda, Nigeria and Cambodia, before heading back to the US to view the scientific side of malaria treatment.

At the opening on Monday the importance of tackling the disease was brought to the fore by Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of International Development and Cooperation, and RBM special representative Princess Astrid of Belgium.

The UAE is the RBM’s largest single donor, having pledged US$25 million (Dh91.3m) between 2009 and this year.

“This is a global health challenge that is of concern to all of us in human development,” said Sheikha Lubna. “This is the first time the exhibition is being shown in the Middle East.

“The exhibition documents the journey and tangible improvements made in controlling the disease. It also shows the devastating consequences that the disease can have on communities.”

There has not been a reported case of malaria in the UAE since 1997 and the country has since been declared malaria-free by the World Health Organisation, said Sheikha Lubna.

“We have a unique perspective on malaria,” she said. “The UAE has effectively eliminated the disease from our borders. This serves as an example of how effective treatment and management can be in preventing the spread of this illness.

“We are keen for other countries to benefit from this experience and we are committed to helping combat malaria elsewhere.”

The exhibition was inaugurated by Princess Astrid, who said the financial and human cost of the disease was felt particularly hard in Africa.

“Despite incredible advances in recent years, this preventable illness continues to kill a child every minute,” she said. “Each of those deaths is not just a number, it is a precious life with great potential not realised.

“And these deaths have incredible economic impact on already struggling communities in Africa, where 90 per cent of malaria deaths occur, the disease costs an estimated minimum of $12m in lost productivity per year.

“Malaria is simple to prevent and treat, yet it continues to plunge developing countries further into poverty.”

The exhibition is free of charge and will be held at the Emirates Palace until May 18.

ksinclair@thenational.ae

Published: May 5, 2014 04:00 AM

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