|Nothing But Nets campaign gets $3 million challenge grant|
Schoolchildren in Lekki, Nigeria,
perform a skit promoting the effectiveness of mosquito nets in
preventing malaria. A UMNS photo by Mike DuBose.
Jan. 4, 2007
By United Methodist News Service*
The Nothing But Nets campaign is receiving a $3 million challenge grant
from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the purchase and
distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets to prevent malaria in
The challenge grant was announced Jan. 4, as representatives of
Nothing But Nets prepared to kick off the campaign with an event at the
National Basketball Association store in New York City.
The people of The United Methodist Church, the United Nations Foundation, NBA Cares, Sports Illustrated
and other partners are working to raise donations for bed nets. The
grant will match those contributions dollar for dollar up to $3 million.
"Coming so soon after the Christmas season, this is great news because
bed nets represent the gift of life," said Bishop Thomas Bickerton,
president of the United Methodist Commission on Communication.
Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton
outlines the Nothing But Nets initiative at the 2006 meeting of the
United Methodist Association of Communicators.
A UMNS file photo by Mike DuBose.
A $10 bed net can protect a family of four for up to four years,
reducing the incidence of nocturnal mosquito bites - the primary means
of transmitting the disease. Malaria infects more than 500 million
people each year, and more than a million die from the disease, yet
fewer than 5 percent of African children sleep under a mosquito net,
according to the campaign.
Joining in Nothing But Nets is the latest step by The United Methodist Church to prevent and control malaria.
"For decades, the denomination has been working in African communities
to combat diseases of poverty through education, prevention and
treatment," said the Rev. R. Randy Day, top staff executive of the
United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. "Now by partnering with
other organizations, we are able to reach more people and have a greater
impact. Mosquito bed nets are a simple and cost-effective way to
Making a difference
Since the campaign's beginnings last year, inspired by a Sports Illustrated
column by Rick Reilly, Nothing But Nets has raised more than $2
million, and 150,000 nets have already been distributed in Nigeria. The
campaign is working through one of its partners, the Measles Initiative,
to deliver the nets.
"Nothing But Nets provides an opportunity for communities everywhere to
get involved in malaria prevention," said Regina Rabinovich, director of
infectious diseases at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "We
hope that this challenge grant will encourage others to take the simple
step of sending a net and saving a life. Working together, we have the
power to prevent this terrible disease from spreading."
Public health workers with the
Nothing But Nets campaign demonstrate the proper way to hang a mosquito
net during a home visit in the Apapa neighborhood in Lagos,
Nigeria. A UMNS photo by Mike DuBose.
Kathy Bushkin, executive vice president and chief operating officer
of the U.N. Foundation, also expressed gratitude for the Gates grant.
She noted that the campaign "demonstrates how easy it is for one person
to make a difference."
Malaria accounts for up to half of all hospital admissions and
outpatient visits in Africa, according to the campaign. In addition to
the burden on the health system, malaria illness and death cost Africa
about $12 billion a year in lost productivity.
Contributions can be made to the campaign through the Advance for Christ
and His Church, the second-mile giving program of the denomination.
Donations, designated for Advance No. 982015, can be made online at http://secure.gbgm-umc.org/donations/advance/donate.cfm?code=982015,
by phone at (888) 252-6174, or by mail at Advance GCFA, P.O. Box 9068,
GPO, New York, NY 10087-9068. Checks also can be placed in the offering
plate of any United Methodist congregation. One hundred percent of every
Advance gift goes to the designated ministry.
For more information about Nothing But Nets, visit www.nothingbutnets.net or www.umc.org.
*This report was adapted from a press release by United Methodist
Communications, with additional information from United Methodist News
Service. UMNS is a unit of United Methodist Communications.
News media contact: Diane Denton with United Methodist Communications
is providing public information support for Nothing But Nets and can be
reached at (615) 483-1765. UMNS news writer Linda Bloom is covering the
launch and can be reached at (646) 369-3759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Nothing But Nets
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation