NASHVILLE, Tenn.—The United Methodist Church will get a surge of support for its work to eliminate deaths and suffering from malaria in Africa, thanks to a $3 million supplemental grant from the United Nations Foundation.
"The United Methodist Church brings a unique piece to solving the global puzzle of malaria and maternal and child health: Faith. It is who we are, where we come from, and where we are going. It transcends challenges, political boundaries, and even deadly diseases," said Bishop Thomas Bickerton, who chairs the United Methodist Global Health Initiative.
The grant will support administrative costs for the denomination's Imagine No Malaria campaign, an effort to raise $75 million to empower the entire African continent to achieve a sustainable victory over malaria by 2015 through prevention, education, communication, and treatment.
"We believe faith-based organizations play a critical role in fighting diseases like malaria," said Michael Pajonk, the UN Foundation's Director of Organizational Partnerships. "The United Methodist Church is a valued partner and we are proud to support the work of its Imagine No Malaria campaign."
The people of The United Methodist Church were founding partners of the UN Foundation's Nothing But Nets, in 2006 – a global, grassroots campaign to save lives by sending insecticide-treated bed nets to prevent malaria in Africa. The United Methodist Church then expanded its commitment in 2008 by joining the UN Foundation Malaria Partnership, and with the creation of Imagine No Malaria. The Church subsequently received a $4.8 million grant to support Imagine No Malaria, a fundraising and educational campaign that launched on World Malaria Day 2010.
To date, The United Methodist Church has raised more than $18 million to support the fight against malaria. These funds already have been utilized in Africa, providing more than 588,000 bed nets, establishing 15 in-country health boards to ensure greater accountability of donor funds, and training more than 3,500 local health workers since April 2010. The church's work drew recognition from philanthropist Melinda Gates during the Malaria Forum sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in October 2011.
The Urgency Continues
However, "Our children are still dying," Bishop Eben Nhiwatiwa of Zimbabwe reminded, last week. In fact, a child dies of malaria every 45 seconds.
The US Senate is considering a critical budget bill that would protect funding for global health, including malaria. Bishop Bickerton and other members of the Imagine No Malaria Committee urge you to take a moment to contact your senator at 202.224.3121 or by email, and asking for his or her support for global health funding:
"Imagine No Malaria is the One Big Thing we can do together! Your support is a blessing to all of us."
About Imagine No Malaria
Imagine No Malaria is an extraordinary ministry of the people of The United Methodist Church to eliminate death and suffering from malaria in Africa by 2015. With a goal of raising $75 million to improve health infrastructure and empower a sustainable victory over the disease, Imagine No Malaria is our opportunity to rethink how we reach beyond our church, opening doors to those who need it most. For more information, visit www.ImagineNoMalaria.org.