Luanda, Angola--On Friday, October 12, residents of Bom Jesus, Angola received roughly 9,000 insecticide-treated mosquito nets to help protect them from malaria. The nets were delivered house-to-house throughout the community by a locally trained cadre of community educators who also hosted a delegation of United Methodists from the U.S. and the West Angola United Methodist Church. The local NGO Africare has been a significant partner in planning this program, the first for The United Methodist Church in Angola.
A launch event was held on Friday at 10:30 a.m. at the Bom Jesus United Methodist Church.
The West Angola Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, with the support of the Angola Ministry of Health, identified Bom Jesus as a place with a high incidence of malaria. Most of the population lives along the Kwanza River, where conditions are conducive to malaria and other diseases.
The funds for the nets were raised by the Rocky Mountain Conference of The United Methodist Church, in partnership with the West Angola United Methodist Church, to honor the leadership of Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr. and Mrs. (Minnie) Brown in the Mountain Sky Area of The United Methodist Church .
Modeling their example, and under the leadership of Bishop Elaine J.W. Stanovsky, both the Rocky Mountain Conference and the Yellowstone Conference have committed to raise additional funds for Imagine No Malaria, a United Methodist initiative working to end preventable deaths from malaria in Africa with a goal of raising $75 million for prevention, education and treatment.
"It's just the beginning of what we hope the West Angola Conference can do through its newly established health ministry to promote health and long life for people across the region," said Bishop Stanovsky.
Speakers at the launch event voiced their support and involvement in the Bom Jesus project. They included: Bishop Brown, of the California-Nevada Annual Conference; Bishop Stanovsky; Bishop Gaspar J. Domingos of West Angola; Maria Adao Somhi, Kwanza-Bengo District Superintendent; Rev. Gary Henderson, Imagine No Malaria; and Nyamah Dunbar, UMCOR.
This net disbursement honored Dr. Abel da Silva, a medical doctor who served as the health board coordinator for the West Angola Conference and practiced at the Bom Jesus Clinic prior to his death in 2012. He was active in seeking partnerships between the West Angola Conference and the Rocky Mountain Conference to begin an anti-malaria campaign in the region. While in Bom Jesus, several of the special guests will attend a program to dedicate a medical clinic that has been refurbished in recognition of Dr. Da Silva's work with malaria.
Financial and logistical support for this program is being provided by the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), the humanitarian and relief agency of The United Methodist Church. The distribution of nets was coordinated by Africare, a humanitarian organization that provides logistical and distribution support. The entire project has been done with the full support of the Angola Ministry's National Malaria Control program in collaboration with the West Angola United Methodist Church.