Imagine living every day in fear that a simple mosquito bite – a harmless, if annoying, souvenir of a twilight trip outdoors – could mean the difference between life and death. Malaria seems like a far-off fear here in America, but in many parts of the world it’s a daily threat. In Africa, where most cases of malaria are found, nearly two hundred million people get this mosquito-spread disease each year. Left untreated, malaria is often fatal, taking hold as the most prominent disease in certain parts of Africa. Almost nine in ten victims of malaria-caused deaths are children, and this illness is almost as devastating as starvation in those under the age of five.
The Lutheran World Federation, supported by the ELCA, is working in Africa to limit the devastating effects of malaria. The LWF uses a variety of methods to try to protect the people. They distribute mosquito nets, educate members of the community on the disease, and work to get rid of mosquito-breeding sites, such as standing water. The LWF also works to help the people who already have malaria. They work with local governments and organizations to set up programs and resources.
The LWF and government health workers in Uganda work on the weekends to provide open clinics to diagnose and distribute medicine to those who suffer of malaria. The lines for these clinics sometimes stretch two days on, and around 30% of those who visit are diagnosed with malaria and given treatment. The LWF is also training Village Health Teams to test for malaria and to treat it, leaving a legacy of protection from malaria that will last for generations.
Resurrection helps fund the LWF and their fight against malaria through the ELCA. Marilyn Lapkass reports, “In 2013 Resurrection focused on supporting the ELCA Malaria campaign. Since the campaign began over 3 years ago, LCR has contributed more than $5000 to the ELCA campaign, and the ELCA has raised nearly 10 million dollars towards their goal of 15 million.”
While malaria likely won’t be banished from the world in the next few years, we’re making huge strides in the fight against it. In the meantime, each and every one of us can help by donating, volunteering, and keeping everyone in our prayers.