ELCA Malaria Campaign

Make Malaria History

Encouraging good health everywhere

Posted on January 30, 2012 by jessicanipp

A Lenten activitiy from St. John Evanglical Lutheran Church in Dickinson, ND:

CROSS-GENERATIONAL LENT ACTIVITY: Lent is a time of prayer, reflection and service. Throughout Lent, you can benefit the ELCA Malaria Campaign and improve the health, wellness and spiritual areas of your life. The ELCA Malaria Campaign educates about the disease of malaria and its impact on people in poverty in Africa, especially children under five and pregnant women.  The ELCA is encouraging prayer, advocacy, education and fundraising.

 So what can you do?  Beginning Wednesday, February 22:

  • As a congregation, we will attempt to reach an ambitious goal of 100,000 minutes of exercise during Lent. 
  • For every 2,000 minutes of exercise done as a congregation, St. John will purchase a malaria net to be sent to Africa. 
  • You track the number of minutes every time you exercise and keep a running total of your minutes. Any form of exercise can be used, such as walking, aerobics, swimming, gym class, sports practices and games, etc.
  • We will post the miles accumulated halfway through Lent on Wed., March 14 and the week after Easter Sunday. Participants should call or email Jodeen Myers (myers@stjohnelc.org) or Lisa Kostelecky (kostelecky@stjohnelc.org) around those two dates to report minutes. 
  • We will total the number after Easter Sunday to see if we have reached our goal! 

You are invited to participate in this activity as a prayer partner, if you will not be doing the exercising. Information about the ELCA Malaria Campaign will be available. Also, you may share a gift toward the purchase of the nets by contributing a check to St. John, with “Malaria Campaign” on the memo line. One net costs $10. There will be information available in the Commons Area soon.


Malaria research offers hope from all angles

Posted on January 26, 2012 by jessicanipp

We’re living in a “global moment.” For the next four years, the ELCA is joining hands with other churches, government agencies, non-profit agencies, celebrities and– very importantly– researchers in our quest to overcome malaria by 2015. Malaria researchers are coming at the problem of malaria from all angles.

  • Some are working to create a vaccine that interrupts the life cycle of the malaria parasite and confers a degree of immunity. (This link has a great video!)
  • Some are working to sterilize male mosquitoes so they are unable to impregnate female mosquitoes.
  • Some are working to find new drugs that are capable of fighting off the increasingly drug-resistant strains of malaria.
  • And some, like those highlighted in this recent article in Science magazine, are working to produce the current most effective drug in a way that makes the medicine cheaper and more widely available.

As we pray for those whose lives are impacted by malaria, and our partners in Africa who are implementing life-saving malaria programming, let’s also lift up those researchers who are working with us in the scientific realm to make malaria history.

Meet our Southern Africa partners

Posted on January 24, 2012 by jessicanipp

We are blessed to be a global church! The ELCA is in partnership with many Lutheran churches across the world through the Lutheran World Federation (LWF).  The LWF is divided into regions and sub-regions, and one of those sub-regions encompasses the churches in Southern Africa. This region is called LUCSA– the Lutheran Communion in Southern Africa.

LUCSA is the first organization to implement malaria programming through the ELCA Malaria Campaign. They’ve chosen 5 malaria-infested countries to focus on: Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Programs have already begun in these countries– and they’re changing lives. Visit the LUCSA website to read about the malaria programming in LUCSA churches.


Lectionary texts for Epiphany lift up healing

Posted on January 19, 2012 by jessicanipp

Many thanks to Mary Simonson Clark, ELCA Malaria Campaign Coordinator in the Minneapolis Area Synod, for providing the following insights on the lectionary texts for February 5 and 12.  She points out the healing imagery in the following texts:

February 5:

  • Isaiah 40:21-31—“but those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength” (v. 31)
  • Psalm 147:1-11, 20c—“He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds.” (v. 3)
  • Mark 1:29-39—Jesus heals many at Simon’s house, including Simon’s mother-in-law. (Scholars and ELCA Malaria Campaign staff have postulated that Simon’s mother-in-law may have been suffering from malaria!)

February 12:

  • 2 Kings 5:1-14—The healing of Naaman
  • Psalm 30—Thanksgiving for recovery from grave illness
  • Mark 1:40-45—Jesus cleanses a leper

What a wonderful opportunity we have to lift up the ELCA Malaria Campaign–  and the programming work of our companion churches in Africa– in the midst of these meditations on God’s healing power!

Bishop Ambrose Moyo: Malaria in Southern Africa

Posted on January 17, 2012 by jessicanipp

(I’m proud to share this article by Jeff Cours, who is one of the coordinators of the ELCA Malaria Campaign in the ELCA’s Pacifica Synod, which encompasses parts of Southern California and Hawaii.  ~Jessica)

By Jeff Cours 

In December, Bishop Ambrose Moyo traveled the United States to talk with people about the ELCA Malaria Campaign. He spoke at Hope Lutheran Church in Temecula, CA about some of the challenges Southern Africa faces and how the ELCA is helping to address them.

Ordained as a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe, Bishop Moyo was later elected its presiding bishop. For a time, with the country in turmoil, death threats forced him into exile. Later, he served as executive director of the Lutheran Communion in Southern Africa (LUCSA), one of the expressions of the Lutheran World Foundation in Africa. Currently, he serves as Facilitator for Accompaniment and Capacity Building in Zimbabwe and Southern Africa through the ELCA’s Global Mission Unit.

To understand how a program like the ELCA Malaria Campaign works, you have to understand the role of the church in Southern Africa. Christianity runs deep in these countries; Zimbabwe is 70% Christian.  Religious organizations operate most of the schools and hospitals. The Malaria Campaign’s approach of working through partner churches fits into this structure. Local churches understand the needs of their communities and how best to address them, and they provide a natural focal point for getting the help where it will do the most good.

And these countries definitely need the help. Eight hundred thousand die of malaria each year, the vast majority of them African children. Sixty percent of preschool-aged children, forty-nine percent of school-aged children, and nineteen percent of pregnant women get malaria each year.  In some Southern African countries, malaria is the third most deadly disease.

Some rural clinics do not have anti-malarial medicines. Others do not have the equipment necessary to diagnose the disease properly, which forces them to try to diagnose people based only on symptoms,  an approach that risks breeding drug-resistant strains of the disease. And imagine trying to transport a desperately ill patient over rutted dirt roads by donkey cart.

Malaria also interferes with education. During peak malaria season, there are times in the schools when half the children are out with malaria. Or the children might be there, but their teachers are absent because of the disease.

However, the ECLA Malaria Campaign is making noticeable progress. One of the Campaign’s strongest effects is hope. People are starting to believe that someone cares about what happens to them, and changing the way they act. People in rural areas are clearing brush and removing standing water from around their houses and churches.  In the past, when the government came to spray mosquitoes, many people would lock their houses and disappear for the day. This year more people are letting the sprayers come in. Bishop Moyo toured a school that normally loses 5-7 students a year to malaria. This year, they lost none. The Campaign is working. Things are getting better.

The Campaign works in a quintessentially Lutheran way. LUCSA coordinates with Lutheran churches. Those churches’ bishops and pastors identify elders and interested people within each congregation, and those people act as the congregation’s focal point for the Campaign. Think of them as their congregation’s Malaria Campaign Committee. They receive training in malaria prevention, help to identify and assess needs, and coordinate activities—and there are people alive today because of them.

And because of us. The Pacifica Synod has raised over $106,000 so far. We’re planning a big push to reach our $250,000 goal, focusing on Lent and Easter. With God’s help we’ll be able to commemorate Christ’s gift to us with a deeply meaningful gift to our African brothers and sisters.

We are being called to change the world in a way that will touch millions of lives.  Come help us make malaria history.

Campuses and Grants and Matching Funds, oh my!

Posted on January 9, 2012 by jessicanipp

We’re announcing a wonderful opportunity for students at ELCA campus ministries, colleges and universities. (Actually it’s more like TWO wonderful opportunities!)

Wonderful opportunity #1: All money that is raised on ELCA campuses or by ELCA campus ministries to benefit the  ELCA Malaria Campaign will be matched. Thanks to a generous gift from the Sorenson family, we can match all money raised, dollar for dollar, up to $125,000.  That means we can make a $250,000 impact on malaria in Africa! The ELCA Malaria Campaign will raise $15 million by 2015… that gives us a few more academic years to work with!

Wonderful opportunity #2: We can even give you some seed money to help your fund-raising efforts!  We have two different types of grants available. We have eight social media grants of $500 to help you put together a social media campaign (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to raise money for the ELCA Malaria Campaign. And we have twelve campus programming grants of $1,500 each, to help you put together a campus-wide effort to raise money to fight malaria. Check it out.

We’d love to see each and every ELCA college, university and campus ministry participate in this matching challenge! We only have 20 grants to give away, but the matching challenge applies to every ELCA campus or campus ministry.

Maybe you don’t have thousands (or even hundreds) of dollars to spare. Maybe you’re feeling flat-out broke.

But consider this: $10 buys a net, and delivers it to a household at risk, and provides the education so that the family knows how and why to use a mosquito net. (Read: $10 can save the life of everyone sleeping under that net.)

Consider this: $2 buys a dose of medication to treat someone who has malaria. Treatment within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms drastically lowers the mortality rate of malaria. (Read: $2 can save a life. )

Consider this: $2 buys a dose of medication that can prevent malaria from taking the life of a pregnant woman and her baby.  Women who receive this treatment during pregnancy are far more likely to deliver healthy, malaria-free newborns. (Read: $2 can save two lives.)

Plus, all of your donations get doubled. Kind of makes your pocket change seem more powerful, doesn’t it?

So, students, please do the following:

1.) Go to www.elca.org/malaria/grants.

2.) Fill out a grant application and send it in…

3.) … and get to work saving lives.

Saving lives through malaria education

Posted on January 3, 2012 by jessicanipp

A friend of the ELCA Malaria Campaign spent last year working in Uganda, and she sent us these posters.  Posters such as these are used as teaching tools in many countries, to help health workers teach communities about malaria prevention and treatment.

In rural African situations where computers and even electricity are scarce, this is a good, low-tech alternative to a PowerPoint presentation!

These posters are very visual and colorful, to hold the attention of the audience.

The first page stresses the importance of completing a dose of malaria medication. In the US, we often talk about the importance of completing a course of antibiotics, so that even the stronger bacteria are killed off.  In a similar way, when a person is suffering from malaria, it is important for them to take all of the  malaria medication, so that all of the parasites in their system are cleared out.

It’s also important to treat the symptoms, because high fevers can be dangerous. When a person has malaria, they should be kept as cool and comfortable as possible before being taken to the nearest clinic.

The second page of the presentation emphasizes techniques for malaria prevention. For example, long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets are one great way to prevent malaria. Since mosquitoes are most active at night, and sleeping people are most vulnerable, these nets should be used to cover beds during the night.

Because mosquitoes breed in areas of standing water, it’s important to drain puddles and clean up areas of brush outside homes. This is one simple way to prevent mosquitoes from multiplying in a community.

Women who are pregnant can seek a special kind of treatment called IPTp– Intermittent Preventative Therapy for Pregnant Women. ELCA Malaria Campaign funds are making this special treatment available to more women. With the treatment, women are more likely to have healthy babies who are free from the side effects of malaria during pregnancy.

And one more great way to prevent malaria — people who are fortunate enough to have homes with windows should close the windows at night to keep the mosquitoes out.

The third page of the presentation illustrates the primary symptoms of malaria. A high fever and chills, of course, are the tell-tale symptoms of malaria. The high fever occurs when malaria parasites enter the bloodstream and the body begins to defend itself.

Other symptoms of malaria should not be ignored. These additional symptoms include aches all over the body, especially headaches, loss of appetite, and gastrointestinal complications such as vomiting and diarrhea.

When someone experiences these symptoms, it is time to test for malaria.  Testing for malaria takes place at a clinic, so it is crucial to this step of the malaria treatment process that there are enough clinics to serve a geographical area, and enough health care workers who are trained to administer Rapid Diagnostic Tests for malaria.

Many rural people have to travel to the clinic on foot. The lucky ones may have a bicycle or an ox-drawn cart to help with the trip.

The last page of the presentation explains the risks that are involved when malaria progresses from a primary infection to a more serious infection. This is the point at which malaria becomes a lethal killer.

If malaria treatment is not administered to an infected individual in time, the body can start to undergo convulsions. Prolonged attacks on the body’s red blood cells result in anemia. When the infection progresses to cerebral malaria, it can cause brain damage, and the patient is likely to die.

800,000 times every year, malaria gets this far.

These posters–and the education programs sponsored by the ELCA Malaria Campaign–seek to raise awareness of this silent killer, and to encourage those suffering from symptoms to seek treatment immediately, which increases their chance of surviving a bout with malaria.

Coupled with our efforts to equip clinics with adequate supplies of medication and diagnostic equipment, these educational efforts will save lives!