Anglican bishops from Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, and Angola took part in a round-table discussion with health ministers, scientists and field-staff to discuss ways of curbing malaria, a preventable disease which kills more than 400,000 people a year. The two-day meeting in Victoria Falls was organised by the Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative, which has been working for almost a decade to support malaria control and elimination programs in “last mile” communities.
Its co-founder, J C Flowers, the US-based investment manager and philanthropist, stressed the important role of Anglican Churches in eliminating malaria from hard to reach communities, saying: “There is still much work to do, but the extensive focus on community engagement and ownership by the Anglican Church here in sub-Saharan Africa has contributed to significant advances in the fight against malaria.”
The Director of Zimbabwe’s National Malaria Control Programme, Dr Joseph Mberikunashi, urged the round-table participants to curb the recent resurgence of malaria in the region. “There is great need to develop new tools and more importantly make use of the new technologies as they becomes available,” he said.
Bishops from Central and Southern Africa at the anti-malaria round table in Zimbabwe.
Photo: Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative
The Bishop of Lusaka, David Njovu, said that the Church was able to mobilise people around malaria prevention and treatment because of its active presence in communities most affected by the disease. Anglican Churches have been effective in engaging thousands of malaria volunteers who are responsible for delivering malaria education, testing, and treatment services, he said, adding: “The Church is found in most communities of Zambia. This gives it a comparative advantage in the fight against malaria in the sense that people who volunteer to participate in the fight do so because they are motivated by love but also to protect their own community.”
The round table was attended by Bev Jullien, chief executive of the Mothers’ Union, and Rachel Carnegie, co-executive director of the Anglican Alliance. After the meeting, Rachel Carnegie said: “It was profoundly impressive to see how the volunteers in this malaria programme were extending the reach of the health services to eradicate malaria.”
The Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative focuses its efforts on border communities in Namibia, Angola, Zimbabwe and Zambia in partnership with community and traditional leaders, Anglican Churches and faith-based communities, national governments, and multilateral donors.
An Anglican health volunteer pictured with a boy in Zimbabwe after installing a mosquito net above his bed.
Photo: Anglican Alliance