Imagine No Malaria, Church and Society
(Susan Hunt) Imagine No Malaria is our denomination-wide effort to end deaths due to malaria in sub-Saharan Africa. Malaria is a parasite spread by a mosquito, and is preventable and treatable. Yet a child dies of it every 60 seconds. The United Methodist church, in partnership with several other global health organizations, is focusing its efforts in these four areas:
- Prevention (distributing insecticide-treated nets and teaching families how to avoid malaria)
- Treatment (improving diagnosis, case management, and access to medication. We can actually provide medication for 2 people for only $10!)
- Education (training a grassroots network of community health workers who will teach how to prevent mosquitos, where to get treatment and the importance of taking the full course of treatment)
- Communication (to get this life-saving information to those who need it most).
In the past, we simply showed up in communities and brought a whole bunch of nets and handed them out, then we left. And when I say “we” I mean mostly Caucasian Americans. We were “handing out fish.” This was not helpful!
Instead, with Imagine No Malaria, we have worked to establish 15 health boards connected with our United Methodist Conferences in Africa in order to do two things:
1.They tell us what their communities need. In some places, it is more nets. In other places, they need medications or volunteers to help staff educational training and promote behavior changes to help prevent malaria. They let us know what is needed through these grant proposals that were being worked on in the photo.
2.They implement the programs on the ground. Because they live and work in these communities, they can make sure that nets are still being used, that long-term clinic needs are being met, and they provide the accountability needed to make sure those nets and medications are going to really save lives. Through these health boards, we have trained and empowered 5,800 community health workers who are daily helping to prevent malaria in their villages. They do all of this work without pay and they are saving lives!!!
In the process of doing this work for us, the health boards are also gaining the skills that will help them apply for grants from other relief agencies for funding to support health in their communities long after the United Methodists stop raising money for malaria.
How to get involved:
1.Donate: You can help today by donating to Imagine No Malaria through your local church or atwww.awfumc.org/malaria. Together, we are putting our faith in action to change millions of lives! Just $10 saves a life. The Alabama-West Florida Conference’s goal is to save 100,000 lives by annual conference in June.
2.Learn: read more about Imagine No Malaria at www.awfucm.org/malaria orhttp://www.imaginenomalaria.org/.
3.Advocate: One of our global partners in this effort is the Global Fund, which also helps to pay for the fight against Malaria, HIV/AIDS, and Tuberculosis. Of the $48.4 billion each year our government gives in foreign aid, $1.36 billion of that goes to the Global Fund. It is important that this funding amount is not reduced! The death rate due to malaria used to be one life every 30 seconds, but it’s now at 60 seconds, which means we have made progress. But reduced funding to the Global Fund would mean we would be taking backwards steps in our fight against these diseases worldwide. Ask your legislator for robust funding for global health. Find your legislator here:http://whoismyrepresentative.com/.