Monday, April 25, 2011

World Malaria Day

By Nyamah Dunbar*

For the United Methodist Church’s Imagine No Malaria (INM) campaign, every day is World Malaria Day. In the East African nation of Mozambique, where the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) will commemorate World Malaria Day this year, every 45 seconds marks the unwritten inscription of another life lost to this deadly disease.

INM is the denomination’s global health initiative to create awareness of malaria and build support for its eradication. April 25 is internationally recognized as World Malaria Day, a day to remember the millions of people whose lives are lost or affected by this preventable disease. Children are among the most vulnerable, and in Mozambique, about 36,000 children die annually of the disease.

This spring, UMCOR is partnering with the United Methodist Church in Mozambique, the Missouri Annual Conference, United Methodist Communications, and the Mozambique Ministry of Health’s Malaria Control Program to launch the National Malaria Nets Campaign in Mozambique on May 14.

The campaign kicks off in Golo, Homoine District, where Bishop Thomas Bickerton, Western Pennsylvania Conference, will join Bishop Joaquina Nhanala, Mozambique Annual Conference, along with several local and national authorities for a festive celebration.

After the celebration, 100,000 long-lasting, insecticide-treated nets, provided by the Global Fund through the Government of Mozambique, will be distributed to residents of Homoine and Panda districts. UMCOR is coordinating and funding the logistics of the net distribution, with additional support from NetsforLife and Nothing But Nets.

In cooperation with the Government of Mozambique, 550 trained community workers will provide ongoing malaria-prevention education and treatment to the districts’ more than 200,000 residents.

The net distribution serves as the first major health program to be executed through Center of Hope (CESPE), a community-based health center located on the grounds of Chicuque Rural Hospital, which is supported by UMCOR. CESPE offers community-based health workers training and education on malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and maternal and child health. The volunteer health workers then bring life-saving education and preventative measures to remote communities.

*Nyamah Dunbar is the INM executive for Grant Management, UMCOR Health

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