INM update: Even with malaria death rate halved, much more to be done
When The United Methodist Church launched Imagine No Malaria in April 2010, children in sub-Saharan Africa were dying at the rate of one every 30 seconds. Now, a person dies of malaria every 60 seconds.
The impact does not stop at halving the death rate. Donations totaling nearly $32 million through the end of March have allowed the distribution of more than 1.2 million insecticide-treated bed nets, affecting nearly 2.4 million lives. Thirteen health boards have directed training in 16 African countries of more than 5,800 health care workers, who teach families to use the nets and educate communities about preventing malaria. The gifts also provide medicine and rapid diagnostic tests.
United Methodists throughout the denomination are contributing to Imagine No Malaria. One large church in North Carolina collected $100,000 over the Christmas holidays. A Pennsylvania congregation of less than 50 members receives a special offering every month.
Some individuals are donating $28 a month for three years. Church-sponsored 5k runs are a popular fundraiser. Children staff lemonade stands, pastors shoot baskets, college students have pizza parties and student paintings are sold during silent auctions—all to fight malaria.
Donors are now giving through a Mother's Day campaign. Funds donated through www.imaginenomalaria.org/sharethelove can be an alternative gift or honor a mother. Promotional materials for the campaign that runs through June are on the website.
Imagine No Malaria started with eight annual conferences pledging to support the goal of raising $75 million or more to end suffering and death from malaria in Africa. Currently 19 conferences are actively involved in fundraising. Four more have pledged to join in 2014. Minnesota Conference churches have raised more than $2 million. Illinois Great Rivers is closing in on that amount.
Sandra Long Weaver, communications coordinator, Imagine No Malaria, United Methodist Communications, Nashville, Tenn.
Award-winning documentary returns
Learn more about how malaria can destroy lives and families by watching "A Killer in the Dark" on your local NBC affiliate this spring. Actress Pauley Perrette narrates the hour-long documentary. Check local listings for details.