|United Methodists fight malaria through education|
Dr. Pedro Antonio, a public health official in
Malanje, Angola, examines a stagnant pond for signs of mosquito
infestation as part of efforts to control malaria.
A UMNS photo by Mike DuBose.
By Michelle Scott*
Feb. 2, 2007 | NEW YORK (UMNS)
Mrs. Monica, of Kassa, Nigeria, got to work immediately after the
week-long training she received through the United Methodist
Community-Based Malaria Control Program.
She asked her husband to cut down or trim trees growing around their
home that could harbor mosquitoes. She emptied all containers of
stagnant water that could be a mosquito breeding ground, then taught her
neighbors to do the same.
She paid for malaria treatment for some of the children in Kassa and
made sure pregnant women were tested for the disease as well.
Duwahabi Ogoba and her two children from Lekki, Nigeria, are protected
from malaria-carrying mosquitoes
by an insecticide-treated net.
A UMNS photo by Mike DuBose.
But Mrs. Monica is an exception in sub-Saharan Africa, where malaria
is viewed simply as a fact of daily life. It is a disease that robs
families of their children and makes parents too sick to work.
The United Methodist Community-Based Malaria Control Program seeks to
create a culture of malaria prevention, educating people most at risk
about basic measures they can take to prevent the mosquito-borne
Armed with the right information, people can fight malaria by using
treated bed nets, ridding the areas around their homes of stagnant water
and reducing the mosquito population. The lessons begin with building
awareness that malaria is completely preventable, through programs such
as the training attended recently by Mrs. Monica and 36 other women from
The idea of "malaria prevention and control in this part of the world
is truly a strange thing because not so many people think that
preventing or controlling it can be possible or even realistic," said
Yolia Raymond, who works at the rural health project in Zing, sponsored
by the United Methodist Church of Nigeria, and heads the HIV/AIDS and
malaria program there.
The program began in 2005 in Sierra Leone when 25 people from seven
countries gathered at Kissy United Methodist Health Center to learn how
to begin sustainable malaria-fighting efforts in their own countries.
All went home promising to spread the good word that this chronic and
common disease, which steals a life every 30 seconds, can be prevented
through basic measures.
What is happening in southern Nigeria under Raymond's leadership is
an example of how the United Methodist malaria program is spreading all
across Africa. Community leaders like Mrs. Monica are learning about
malaria prevention and anti-malaria medication and prenatal education
for pregnant women and are distributing mosquito bed nets to vulnerable
They are even working to grow their own malaria medicine. The rural health program is planting farms of Artemisia annua
or sweet wormwood, a plant that normally grows in China and provides a
key element in anti-malarial drugs. Having access to the plants in
Nigeria will help make this life-saving medicine more accessible and
United Methodists can support the program in Nigeria and similar
programs in Africa through financial contributions to Malaria Control,
UMCOR Advance No. 982009. Checks to UMCOR may be placed in United
Methodist church offering plates or mailed directly to: UMCOR, PO Box
9068, New York, NY 10087-9068. Credit card donations can be made by
*Scott is a communications specialist for the United Methodist Committee on Relief.
News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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