DENVER — With a high prevalence in impoverished areas like sub-Saharan Africa, malaria takes a life every minute. Founded in 2010, “Imagine No Malaria” is a campaign that aims to chip away at this problem with a broad strategy that could save lives.
The campaign for imagining a world without malaria first developed when the United Methodist Church (UMC) spread the idea of “Nothing But Nets,” which was geared toward providing families in Africa with insecticide- treated nets that would keep the mosquitoes from biting them and transmitting the disease. Joel Kichline, who is working on a 5K race that Imagine No Malaria is involved in, puts it simply: “For every $10 that you raise, you buy a malaria net. That $10 is used to save a person’s life.”
The Nothing But Nets concept was so widely received that in 2010 the Imagine No Malaria campaign fell into place with a broader vision and more solutions. The initiative supports myriad methods, including “environmental clean-up (stagnant water and trash), basic sanitation (latrines and water), treatment, education, training more health care workers, and improving our existing hospitals and clinics.”
The UMC, along with the Bill Gates Foundation and the U.N. Foundation, is working to support Imagine No Malaria and funnel the donations toward truly effective methods of eradication. This initiative is working with organizations all over the world with the goal of eradicating malaria by 2015.
As part of this effort, churches all over the U.S. are pushing the campaign, breaking down the lives saved into manageable numbers for each district. During the week of June 3, the Alabama-West Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church was held in Montgomery and raised $12,000 for Imagine No Malaria. The conference has an ongoing goal of raising one million dollars, or saving 100,000 lives. So far they have collected $322,000, and the efforts will continue.
The success of the conference is just a portion of what Imagine No Malaria has in mind, hence the name. The UMC aims to spread education about prevention, reach out to hospitals and clinics in Africa, and develop malaria control programs within communities.
Contributions to Imagine No Malaria now extend far beyond providing a family with a net. A donation could provide for an anti-malaria campaign in a school, train a doctor about how to prevent malaria, or provide medication for those with malaria. Larger donations upwards of $4,000 would be enough for “a year’s worth of malaria laboratory test kits for all UMC clinics in Bo District, Sierra Leone.” $5,000 would mean a program for distributing bed nets to women and children in Liberia. And the list goes on. From small to big donations, all contributions are funneled toward minimizing the death tolls.
Malaria takes 700,000 lives every year, primarily the lives of pregnant mothers and children. These deaths happen most often in impoverished areas where they are unable to establish safe and sanitized hospitals and educate the communities about how to prevent disease. As these areas make strides toward development, the existence of Imagine No Malaria is an essential campaign in providing people with the education and resources they need to open up the possibility of a malaria free world.
– Maggie Wagner