Idol Star Melinda Doolittle on hand for bed net distribution in Zambia: Shocked by malaria's deadly impact!

Melinda singing with the children of Zambia

"It still blows my mind that in the two short days I was in Africa, another 6,000 children died of malaria," said American Idol finalist Melinda Doolittle upon returning from her recent trip to Zambia with Malaria No More and First Lady Laura Bush.

The number one killer of children in Africa, malaria claims the lives of 3,000 African children each day. But malaria can be prevented … and American Idol viewers are showing how. In Lusaka, Zambia, Melinda worked alongside the First Lady to help distribute 500,000 insecticide-treated bed nets funded in part by viewers who donated to American Idol's "Idol Gives Back" charity special last April. Malaria No More was one of eight charities that received grants from the television fundraiser.

Melinda joined 20 Zambian children in singing a stirring a cappella rendition of "Amazing Grace" for the First Ladies of the United States and Zambia at a ceremony in Lusaka. She met with community health volunteers and loaded bed nets onto the bikes they use to distribute the nets to pregnant mothers, children, and people suffering from HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis in some of the most remote areas of Zambia. In all, the program will protect a million people from malaria.

Along with U.S. Malaria Coordinator Admiral Timothy Ziemer, Melinda got the chance to visit rural health clinics and remote communities where the fight against malaria is being waged. At a local church, she heard firsthand from Zambian children about malaria's debilitating effects. "When I asked how many kids had had malaria, most of their hands shot up," Melinda recalled. "They described how malaria made them feel … head aches, stomach aches, fevers, and missed days of school. But I realized they were the lucky ones because they survived to talk about it."

Now returning to the 56-city Idol tour, Melinda is committed to educating Americans about the scourge of malaria. Already, her trip has produced feature coverage on CNN, Entertainment Tonight, UsWeekly, and other major media outlets.

"I was very honored to be invited to Africa to be a part of this trip and to see the results of America's generous donations firsthand," Doolittle said. "I hope fans begin to realize how easy it is to prevent malaria and how much of a difference even a small donation can make. Just $10 buys a bed net which can protect a mother and child for up to 5 years. For the children of Africa, it can be the difference between life and death."

child suffering from Malaria

Can You Hear Me Now

All I can do is wonder why
You have not heard my silent cry
Does my face not show the terrible pain
As my eyes shed tears like a gentle rain

I try to reach my extended hand
But it’s not enough from where I stand
For the miles between us are far apart
I can only count on a giving heart

Can you hear me now, I need to know
I’m growing weak and moving slow
Do you even know that I exist
Or am I the lowest on your list

I have no choice to where I’ll be
It would be different if it were up to me
My parents are gone, I’m here all alone
The clothes on my back is all that I own

If all it takes is a ten dollar bill
Imagine the life you will fulfill
My only hope for this I pray
That many of you will give each day

Can you hear me now, as I slip away
My time is near, I must not stay
There still is hope for many that live
From caring hearts that are ready to give

Can you hear me now, I give my last plea
Please help my people, please do it for me
For this I know and now I must share
For I know in my heart that you really do care …

Can you hear me now.

To learn read more about Melinda's trip to Zambia, or to donate, please visit www.MalariaNOMORE.org.


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