Episcopal Relief and Development marked Africa Malaria Day on April 25 with the news that it had expanded its program to combat an epidemic that has become a global concern. According to the World Health Organization, 300 million to 500 million new cases of malaria occur each year, 90 percent of them in sub-Saharan Africa.
Although it a preventable and curable disease, malaria kills 3,000 children in this region each day. “The burden of malaria, particularly in the countries of Angola, Mozambique and northern Namibia, is so great that, unless more resources are put into control, there can be no meaningful progress towards reducing poverty in these countries,” said Janette O’Neill, ERD’s program director for Africa. She recently attended the Church of the Province of Southern Africa’s planning meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa.
“The church is galvanized to raising resources both from within and turning the attention of the donor community to this urgent problem.”
Representatives from dioceses across southern Africa participated in presentations and discussions on poverty, HIV/AIDS, malaria and education. “The church has now been presented with a great platform to become meaningful partners for development,” said Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane of Cape Town, who attended the conference.
The Episcopal agency’s malaria programs incorporate preventative measures such as insecticide-treated bed nets, effective drug therapy, and education, which greatly reduces the prevalence of the disease. ERD’s programs are active in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Namibia and Zambia. The agency has plans to expand them to other countries in the region.