The people of The United Methodist Church will join with the United Nations Foundation to support the delivery of more than one million long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets to children and their families in Côte d’Ivoire (formerly the Ivory Coast) from November 11-15, 2008. These life-saving bed nets can protect those that sleep under them from mosquitoes that spread malaria—a disease that kills more than a million people annually worldwide—most of whom are children.
Under the leadership of the Côte d’Ivoire Ministry of Health through its National Program in the Fight against Malaria (PNLP), the bed nets will be distributed as part of a nationwide integrated health campaign targeting over three million children under age five with measles vaccinations, de-worming medication, and vitamin A. This is the largest net distribution ever to take place in this West African nation. More than 85 percent of the nets that will be distributed this month are funded by the UN Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign, a global grassroots initiative created to help prevent malaria in Africa. The people of The United Methodist Church are founding partners of Nothing But Nets.
The distribution in Côte d’Ivoire will involve PNLP, Population Services International (PSI) and more than 1,000 United Methodist volunteers from Côte d’Ivoire and Texas who will work with net recipients on use of insecticide-treated nets, malaria prevention, and treatment options. Volunteers have already received training through the United Methodist Committee on Relief’s Malaria Control program, which complements Nothing But Nets’ efforts with added anti-malaria programs.
A delegation of 35 United Methodists from Texas will travel to Côte d’Ivoire to help distribute the nets, along with representatives of the UN Foundation, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, and United Methodist Communications. The Texas regional conference has created a dynamic partnership with The United Methodist Church in Côte d’Ivoire to help combat malaria in the region. The conference has raised more than $1 million to support the effort.
Bishop Janice Riggle Huie of the Houston Episcopal Area said her conference was inspired to create the partnership after some members traveled to Côte d’Ivoire and learned firsthand how the deadly disease is affecting the lives of local children and families. Participating in the Clinton Global Initiative meeting on behalf of the denomination in September 2007, Huie made a commitment to raise funds through the Nothing But Nets partnership for at least 150,000 bed nets to benefit individuals throughout Côte d’Ivoire.
“We celebrate the enthusiastic support and extravagant generosity of the people of the Texas annual conference who helped make this effort a reality. It is a rare privilege for most of us to participate so directly in saving lives,” said Bishop Huie. “Through this partnership, we have formed new relationships that can change the lives of millions of people and help transform the world. We pray through our partnership that God will bring about the next generation of healthy children.”
The integrated health campaign is the result of strong collaboration among local and international partners, including: the Measles Initiative (led by the American Red Cross, the United Nations Foundation, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF and the World Health Organization); Nothing But Nets; the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church in partnership with the denomination’s Global Health Initiative and the Côte d’Ivoire Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, the government of Japan; Population Services International (PSI); the Côte d’Ivoire Red Cross; and others.
“We are pleased to be able to help deliver life-saving bed nets to young children and their families in Côte d’Ivoire,” said Elizabeth McKee Gore, Executive Director of Nothing But Nets. “As a fellow Texan, I am proud of the work done by the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church to help make this mission possible. Providing long-lasting insecticide-treated nets is a simple and cost-effective way to prevent malaria. From faith leaders and students to professional athletes and CEOs, anyone can get involved by sending a net and saving a life.”
To date, Nothing But Nets has raised more than $20 million; by the end of 2008, the campaign will have distributed more than 2 million nets across Africa. A donation of $10 to Nothing But Nets covers the cost of purchasing a long-lasting insecticide-treated bed net, distributing it and educating communities on its use.
For more information on the net distribution in Côte d’Ivoire or other malaria initiatives of The United Methodist Church, visit www.umc.org/nets.
About Nothing But Nets
Nothing But Nets is a global, grassroots campaign to save lives by preventing malaria, a leading killer of children in Africa. Inspired by sports columnist Rick Reilly, tens of thousands of people have joined the campaign that was created by the United Nations Foundation in 2006. Founding campaign partners include the National Basketball Association’s NBA Cares, the people of The United Methodist Church, and Sports Illustrated. It costs just $10 to provide a long-lasting insecticide-treated bed net to prevent this deadly disease. Visit www.NothingButNets.net to send a net and save a life.
About Malaria Control Program
Malaria Control is a program of UMCOR Health (United Methodist Committee on Relief) which supports community-based anti-malaria programs through United Methodist health institutions and clinics in Africa. These programs include training health educators about the prevention and treatment of malaria, providing nets, medicines, testing and other services to both treat and prevent malaria infection. Visit www.UMCORHealth.org to learn more about Malaria Control.
About the Global Health Initiative
Global health is a major focus for The United Methodist Church, which has more than 11.5 million members internationally and is in mission in more than 125 countries. A new Global Health Initiative (GHI) aims to combat diseases of poverty such as malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, as well as to create conditions for better health for people worldwide through partnerships, awareness, giving, health-education infrastructure and advocacy. The denomination has long been a key player in the fight against malaria, operating hospitals, clinics and mission centers across Africa for more than 160 years. Nothing But Nets is one component of the GHI.
Diane Denton, United Methodist Communications
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