It was fascinating for MANNA to be a part of an extraordinary round table discussion, hosted by Lambeth Palace on Partnering together towards Malaria Elimination. Led by the Bishops of Namibia, Angola (our partner Bishop Andre Soares), Lusaka (Zambia) & Matabeleland, (Zimbabwe), they shared their experiences of cross border malaria elimination and why & how the church is so well placed to lead the way in malaria elimination. This initiative saw representations from government, pharmaceuticals, church based organisations, NGO’s and private foundations. The discussion focussed on case studies from Christian Aid in Nigeria and from the Isdell-Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative comprising Zambia, Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia.
The world has seen significant progress towards malaria elimination over the past decade, during which time deaths from malaria were cut by more than half. But the work is not over: malaria still kills approximately 440,000 people a year, with 90% of deaths occurring in Africa.
The Bishops had been on a tour in both USA & UK raising awareness of what the Anglican church is already doing to work towards Malaria elimination. In these countries, where there is a community, there is a church community and so the church leaders are trained in malaria messages, net usage, prevention and diagnosis messages that can reach even the remotest of villages. They spoke of the need for better collaboration amongst all agencies and more funding to work towards elimination. A key message repeated over and over again is that Malaria is Preventable and together we can eliminate malaria for good. It is hugely encouraging to see all the church is doing in these remote communities but there is so much more to do.As Bishop Luke Pato from Nambia said,“What we are sharing is a dream – a dream of malaria elimination. And in order for this dream to be realised, we need to triple our efforts and we need more partnerships. We’re here to invite you to walk with us.”