Imagine No Malaria -- a 'Nets-plus' approach
The United Methodist Church’s ambitious goal for Imagine No Malaria is to eradicate malaria by 2015 in sub-Saharan Africa, which has 90 percent of worldwide deaths from malaria.
In 2010, the Illinois Great Rivers Conference joined this commitment. Bishop Gregory V. Palmer challenged the conference
to raise between $2.3 and 3.5 million over a three-year period. Training for this initiative began in the Spoon River District last year and other districts have or are launching their efforts in early 2011.
The United Methodist Church has had a missions presence in Africa for more than 160 years, establishing hospitals and clinics in very remote places where other organizations have little or no presence. This existing network provides on-the-ground staff and distribution points to combat malaria, the most devastating disease in Africa.
Many churches have participated in the Nothing But Nets project co-founded by The United Methodist Church with the National Basketball Association and other partners. This project has provided mosquito nets to people in Africa and helped them learn how to use them. Most recently, Imagine No Malaria delivered bed nets to Sierra Leone and Spoon River District Superintendent Janice Griffith
and Sangamon River District Lay Leader Pete Paulson
were among the delegation delivering 300,000 bed nets.
Because of the bed nets, a child dies every 45 seconds from malaria – an improvement of nearly one-third from the one death in every 30 seconds which was occurring when Nothing But Nets was launched.
Imagine No Malaria builds upon Nothing But Nets
. Mosquito nets alone cannot overcome malaria, and that is why Imagine No Malaria has developed a four-part strategy:
- Prevent the spread of malaria by continuing to distribute bed nets, teaching people how to us them effectively, and breaking the mosquito life cycle by draining standing water where insects breed.
- Treat existing and new infections by equipping existing hospitals and community health workers with rapid diagnosis kits and combination therapies of life-saving medicines. Because children under age 5 and pregnant women are most likely to die from malaria, Imagine No Malaria is focusing on these two groups.
- Educate people in rural areas about how they can protect themselves from mosquitoes and the illnesses they carry by activities such as trimming foliage and emptying containers that might hold stagnant water.
- Communicate by deploying radios, cell phones and citizens to spread life-saving information since Africa as a continent does not rely on newspapers.
Because of global partners working with The United Methodist Church, 100 percent of donations will go to helping individuals in Africa. Because of the IGRC partnership with Liberia, 51 percent of all donations will be earmarked for malaria efforts in Liberia. The remaining 49 percent will be put into a general pool of money for education and prevention in which health facilities throughout Africa (including Liberia) may apply for funds to assist in their outreach efforts.