African bishop challenges politicians to honor commitment to eradicate malaria

July 29, 2011

One of the Anglican church's most committed activists in the fight to roll back malaria in Africa and other parts of the world has returned home to Mozambique after a tour of the United Kingdom, where he met with members and supporters of the London-based Mozambique Angola Association (MANNA).

"The fight against malaria, which kills around one million people worldwide every year--50 percent of those deaths are in Africa--is proceeding, but far too slowly" said Dinis Sengulane, bishop of Lebombo in the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.

A plan of action to "roll back malaria" and cut the mortality rate in half was released after a meeting of leaders from 44 of the 50 malaria-affected African states at Abuja (Nigeria) in 2000. "I challenge African heads of state to honor their commitment to the Abuja Declaration, and to honestly measure their achievements in the fight against malaria," said Sengulane.

He urged African leaders to be "more noisy" on the subject, so that the plight of millions of people will be heard by those who can donate money to the cause. There are at least 300 million acute cases of malaria every year; the disease is Africa's leading cause of death for children younger than five years old.

Sengulane told MANNA supporters that the Anglican church continues to spread rapidly in Mozambique, and that the relationship between the church and the government is good.

"We are working at present in seven languages and will soon embark on five more. New congregations are being created, but some of the older ones remain without church buildings. And we need money and other kinds of assistance to train future leaders."

Aside from malaria, Mozambique has other "real issues" to deal with, said Sengulane, including HIV, ignorance, and poverty.