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    Make Malaria History

    Knots for Nets

    Posted on November 29, 2011 by jessicanipp

    Here’s a great idea from El Camino Pines and Yolijwa Lutheran Bible Camp, Southern California:

    Knots for Nets is an effort started by ELCA youth leaders in Southern California, to facilitate youth leadership in fundraising for the ELCA Malaria Campaign.  The project was initially organized by the two Lutheran Bible camps in the area, El Camino Pines and Yolijwa.

    In its simplest form, Knots for Nets encourages young people to get involved by making a friendship bracelet, and trading the bracelet for a $10 donation (which corresponds with the cost of an insecticide-treated bed net and education in Africa) which is sent to the ELCA Malaria Campaign.  The bracelets are most effective when attached to an information card that describes Knots for Nets campaign and the ELCA Malaria Campaign.

    Knots for Nets has been a great way for Bible camp attendees to get involved.  The friendship bracelets can be simple or elaborate.  Campers can make bracelets at camp and continue to make them at home.  Youth leaders and pastors can use Knots for Nets as a small youth project to raise funds and awareness about the ravages of malaria, especially in Africa.

    To date, Knots for Nets has provided for approximately 1300 bed nets and malaria education to our Lutheran companions in Africa.  Knots for Nets bracelets and cards can be made by a local congregation or camp… or contact the Knots for Nets team at El Camino Pines Lutheran Bible Camp in Southern California (661) 245-3519 or Office@LRCChome.com.

    IPTp: For healthier babies

    Posted on November 23, 2011 by jessicanipp

    Children whose immune systems are not yet fully developed and women whose immunity is compromised by pregnancy are among malaria’s easiest targets. For that reason, the ELCA Malaria Campaign’s church companions are planning a lot of programming that specifically targets women and small children.

    IPTp (“Intermittent preventative treatment for pregnant women”) is one of the methods of malaria control that’s being used by many of our ELCA Malaria Campaign companions in Africa.

    Here’s how IPTp works: twice during the course of a pregnancy, women come to the clinic and receive malaria treatment medication. Malaria infection during pregnancy can be asymptomatic, so it is not always apparent when a pregnant woman is infected. For this reason, pregnant women are treated for malaria as if they were infected, and a diagnostic test is not required.  The goal of IPTp is to clear out existing cases of malaria and to prevent re-infection during pregnancy. This protects both mother and child from malaria-related complications (or death) during pregnancy and birth.

    Here are a couple of the great benefits of IPTp:

    • It doesn’t require that clinics have access to diagnostic equipment, because all pregnant women are given the malaria treatment medication.
    • IPTp has been proven to reduce the prevalence of anemia in the mother, low birth weight in babies, and premature birth (a symptom of malaria). This means that the baby has a much greater chance of being born healthy, and the mother has a much greater chance of being healthy enough to take excellent care of her newborn.
    Like other malaria interventions, IPTp works best when t is combined with great malaria education and other preventative measures, such as the use of long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets and the elimination of mosquito breeding grounds.
    Working together with our companions in Africa, the ELCA Malaria Campaign will do all we can to promote malaria-free pregnancy and birth!
    - Jessica Nipp
    ELCA Malaria Campaign

    Mountain climbing for Malaria

    Posted on November 21, 2011 by jessicanipp

    The tallest free-standing mountain in the world, Mount Kilimanjaro towers 19,340 feet above sea level. It’s an international tourist destination  and a symbol of the breathtaking beauty of East Africa. Each year, tens of thousands of people attempt the challenging, multi-day hike to the top.

    This year, some enthusiastic Lutherans will be among them.

    The Rev. Dr. Jack Horner is the Director for Evangelical Mission in the Metropolitan New York Synod.  And in New York,  ”evangelical mission”  has everything to do with mountain climbing.

    Next July, Pastor Horner and a group of committed (and athletic) Lutherans will go to “great heights” to raise awareness and funds for the ELCA Malaria Campaign. They’re planning to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, and to raise $100,000 for the ELCA Malaria Campaign in the process!

    They are inviting individuals, groups, and congregations to sponsor them at the rate of a penny a foot– $193.40. If they find 517 sponsors, they’ll make their fundraising goal, and the ELCA Malaria Campaign and our partners in Africa will be $100,000 closer to our goal of making malaria history.

    What a wonderful and creative way to raise money for the ELCA Malaria Campaign! Thank you, Pastor Horner, the Metro New York Synod, and the committed Kilimanjaro team!

    - Jessica Nipp
    ELCA Malaria Campaign

     

    Malaria in the Congo

    Posted on November 17, 2011 by jessicanipp

    Pastor Chuck Fluegel recently completed his four-month assignment to assist the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He shares the following story:

    “Local medical personnel have asked for help in tracking down a disease that killed twelve children in ten days this fall, near Kabinda, Eastern Kasai Province, Democratic Republic of Congo. Epidemiologists from the province came to study the signs and symptoms of the new disease.

    Children were being lost at the rate of three a day in Kalonda East Rural Health Zone, one doctor reported. A later report said that 50 children had died from the unknown disease.

    The epidemiologist’s report finally came in. The report said that all of the children were severely malnourished and so they died quickly when they contracted malaria.

    This is a story repeated every day in DR Congo rural communities. Health services are thin to non-existent for huge geographical areas. Parents sometimes try to walk the 10 to 50 miles to the nearest clinic, only to realize that their child needed treatment yesterday or the day before. Then the parents must return home clutching a dead child.

    In light of malaria’s devastating effects, malaria prevention is the way to go —  protecting pregnant mothers and their children from malaria. Prevention begins with cutting the grass and small bushes which provide cover for the mosquitos during the day. Because mosquitos can smell the carbon dioxide in your breath from 100 yards away, it is to your advantage to drive mosquitos at least that far from your house. Getting rid of standing and stagnant water is another must, to keep the next generation down.

    Insecticide-treated mosquito nets are an efficient way to protect pregnant moms and under five children. The insecticide treated nets last some three to five years.

    Four important ways to prevent malaria:

    1. Remove stagnant water, shrubs, weeds and grass from around your house.
    2. Always sleep under a treated mosquito net.
    3. Use a strong insect spray on the ceiling and upper walls.
    4. Use malaria medicine twice during a pregnancy to insure that both mother and child are healthier at birthing.”

    Abel Makungwe, Malaria Field Officer

    Posted on November 16, 2011 by jessicanipp

    Abel Makungwe is the Malaria Field Officer operating in Zambia. He travels to congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zambia to teach people about malaria issues:

    • What is malaria?
    • What causes it?
    • How does it spread?
    • Who is at risk?
    • Who is at highest risk?
    • How can malaria be prevented?
    • What are its symptoms?
    • What must a person with symptoms do?
    • How is malaria treated?
    • What expectations should every person have for how he or she gets treatment?

    Abel strives for each community to take ownership of their learning and of their health. He also trains pastors and other church leaders to be Community Health Workers. During the past year, these volunteers have been trained to diagnose the symptoms of malaria and to recommend preventative or treatment measures, or in some cases to administer medications themselves.

    In these photos, Abel is presenting a workshop to a Lutheran congregation in Chanyanya, a rural community outside of the Zambian capital, Lusaka. My colleague Matt (ELCA Global Mission) says this about Abel:  ”One of the most rewarding things about watching Abel work is seeing the enthusiasm and sophistication of community involvement rise as he delivers his education program.”

    Abel’s good work–and the work of all of our global partners in the fight against malaria– is bearing fruit. In the past ten years, cases of malaria in Zambia have decreased by 66%. But even so, four million people in Zambia are still affected by malaria each year, and so our work continues.

    Abel reminds us of the importance of being proactive. “You only benefit through these things when you become active,” he says. This sums up well Abel’s attitude towards all his work fighting malaria in Zambia…

    … and it sums up the work of the ELCA Malaria Campaign. The Body of Christ benefits when our sisters and brothers in Africa can live lives free from malaria. And our companions have the ability to implement malaria programming because we have become active and generous donors!

    Thank you to all of you who have generously supported the ELCA Malaria Campaign. This story represents your malaria dollars at work.

    “The ELCA Must Always Be Part of this Fight”

    Posted on November 15, 2011 by jessicanipp

    The Rev. Dr. Joseph Bvumbwe is Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malawi. He was interviewed by the ELCA Malaria Campaign, and had this to say about our common effort to fight malaria:

    “Malaria for some time now has been neglected as a major killer, even more than HIV and AIDS together. We have been crying out, but for some reason this cry went unheard for many years. We cannot wait any more.

    “We are now looking for ways and means to begin to implement an effective malaria prevention program, as well as awareness-building within the communities, so that communities can be aware of what malaria can do, and how malaria kills and how we can prevent it.

    “We are a church not to ourselves; we are a church in society. We are a church for the people and the church is nothing but the people. We find it really an obligation. We don’t think we have any choice.  We are compelled by the love of Christ to ensure that we can alleviate human suffering and, where possible, end it altogether.

    “We can’t do it on our own here. We know that we are short of certain important elements of this fight. The ELCA must always be a part of this fight and we need their support in order to succeed.”

    Matt’s Continued Adventures in Zambia

    Posted on November 11, 2011 by jessicanipp

    Matt Bishop, an ELCA Global Mission colleague of mine, traveled to Zambia recently. He tells this story:

    At the Kashima Rural Health Center in Zambia, one doctor serves a population of 11,000 people. In order to increase their capacity to treat malaria patients, pastors of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zambia have been trained as community health workers, and have learned to administer rapid diagnostic tests for malaria.

    The pastor pictured here (left) volunteers three days a week at the Kashima Rural Health Care Center. In the photo, he is administering a rapid diagnostic test to a young girl with a fever of 102 degrees, as Matt and the doctor look on.  Fortunately, her malaria test is negative.

    With the help of ELCA Malaria Campaign funding, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zambia has been able to increase the capacity of their clinics and train additional health care workers. They have seen incidences of malaria decrease in their communities due to the prevention and medication offered by malaria programs.

    That’s your ELCA Malaria Campaign dollars at work!

    - Jessica Nipp
    Coordinator, ELCA Malaria Campaign

    Overcoming malaria in Zambia

    Posted on November 10, 2011 by jessicanipp

    Zambia is one of the countries that is already benefiting from ELCA Malaria Campaign funding. Recently a colleague of mine, Matt Bishop, traveled to Zambia and got to see firsthand some of the malaria interventions that are taking place there.

    This is one of the photos that Matt took while he was visiting Chavuma, Zambia.  It depicts the Lutheran church in Chavuma. You may not notice at first glance, but this church is a great example of malaria prevention and malaria education. A few weeks before Matt’s visit, the congregation gathered together to level and fill the ground surrounding the church. They had noticed that during the rainy season, the unlevel ground would fill with water in some spots, encouraging mosquito breeding.

    After the ground was leveled and filled in, the church grounds were much safer for the congregation. In addition, all of the congregation members learned valuable malaria prevention skills that they were able to implement in their own yards!

    That’s the ELCA Malaria Campaign in action.

    - Jessica Nipp
    Coordinator, ELCA Malaria Campaign

    A net in your honor!

    Posted on November 4, 2011 by jessicanipp

    Many of you have been asking whether we have cards available to let others know that a gift has been given to the ELCA Malaria Campaign in their honor.

    I’m pleased to say that the answer is now… “Yes indeed!”

    Check out this Web site, where all of our cards are pictured. Scroll about halfway down, and you’ll find three cards that recognize gifts to the ELCA Malaria Campaign:

    •  ”Preventative medication for women and children has been given in your honor”
    • “A mosquito net has been given in your honor”
    • “A village health team has been given in your honor”
    Here’s the link you can use to make gifts to the ELCA Malaria Campaign through the ELCA Good Gifts catalog.  THANK YOU for your continued efforts to join our African companion churches in making Malaria history!
    - Jessica Nipp, ELCA Malaria Campaign

    Advent calendars for the ELCA Malaria Campaign

    Posted on November 2, 2011 by jessicanipp

    Here’s a wonderful idea developed by Mary Simonson Clark of the Minneapolis Area Synod:

    “The typical Advent Calendar provides a daily surprise or treat to help children mark the time until Christmas. Help your children, grandchildren, or godchildren change their focus from receiving to giving as we rejoice over God’s loving gift of life and hope to us. Download and print on cardstock the 28-day Advent Calendar here. Each Sunday, give your child a dollar to tape over the mosquito on the Calendar; each Monday through Saturday, give him/her a quarter to tape over the date’s mosquito. By Christmas Eve, your child will have saved $10, which is enough to purchase a long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito net that could protect up to four children from deadly mosquito bites.

    It’s soon Advent, the season of hope. Will your Advent preparations bring the Kingdom—over-flowing with joy and life—closer to our neighbors suffering from malaria? This year, will you give hope?”

    Thanks, Mary! Here’s where you can read the whole article.

    - Jessica Nipp,
    ELCA Malaria Campaign