Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) commemorates Africa Malaria Day 2007, April 25. The theme for this year, created by the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, is "Leadership and Partnership for Results." It is also the first Malaria Awareness Day in the United States.
ERD is committed to combating this deadly disease through the NetsforLifeSM malaria prevention program, which aims to distribute one million long-lasting insecticide-treated nets and educate three to four million people in 16 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The program teaches people about the disease through community health education and awareness programs. NetsforLifeSM is a partnership of private donors, churches and corporations including Coca-Cola Africa Foundation, Standard Chartered Bank, the Exxon Mobil Foundation and the Starr Foundation.
To date, the program has trained more than 2,000 community malaria agents and distributed more than 210,000 long-lasting insecticide-treated nets in countries including Zambia, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo. NetsforLifeSM addresses Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) #1, 4, 5, 6 and 8.
"The malaria problem in Africa goes beyond the walls of health facilities and the health sector to affect almost every aspect of society," said Stephen Dzisi, ERD's program officer for Africa. "The involvement of, and partnership with, the leadership at various levels of central and local government are therefore crucial for finding any meaningful solution towards reducing the devastation caused by the disease."
Africa has the highest malaria infection rate in the world. Each year, an estimated one million people die from malaria worldwide, with close to 90 percent of these deaths occurring in Africa. It is the leading cause of death in children under five years old and kills one in 20 children on the continent.
In Mozambique and Angola, more than five million people are infected with malaria each year. ERD is working with the Diocese of Lebombo (Anglican Church of Southern Africa) in Mozambique. So far, 16,500 insecticide-treated nets have been distributed. Close to 384 people in the communities of Maputo, Inhambane and Xai-Xai have been trained in malaria prevention and control techniques. The agents have sensitized more than 400,000 community members.
In Angola, ERD has partnered with the Anglican Diocese of Angola in the Uige and Cunene provinces. Since the program began in 2006, more than 16,000 insecticide-treated nets have been issued and more than 388 community malaria agents have been taught to educate communities about malaria.
Episcopal Relief and Development, in partnership with Roll Back Malaria, endorses the Global Health Council's Malaria Community Statement on Africa Malaria Day 2007. The statement is signed by ERD and other organizations fighting the spread of the disease and raising awareness about malaria prevention. Please click here to read the full statement.
Further information on NetsforLifeSM is available here.
To make a contribution to Episcopal Relief and Development's Malaria Fund, please visit http://www.er-d.org or call 1-800-334-7626, ext. 5129. Gifts can be mailed to: Episcopal Relief and Development, "Malaria Fund", PO Box 7058, Merrifield, VA 22116-7058.