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    Make Malaria History

    “Freezin’ for a Reason”– Polar Plunge for Malaria

    Posted on February 27, 2013 by jessicanipp

     I shivered when I read the following letter!  It came from Pastor Kevin Frey, of Trinity Lutheran Church, New Hampton Iowa.  Read it and freeze, my friends!

    Pastor Kevin Frey of    Lutheran Church   ,   prepares to jump into Lake Michigan to raise funds for the ELCA Malaria Campaign

    Pastor Kevin Frey of Trinity Lutheran Church, New Hampton, IA prepares to jump into Lake Michigan to raise funds for the ELCA Malaria Campaign.

    “I volunteered for the Polar Plunge into Lake Michigan at Milkwaukee on New Year’s Day at noon.  I challenged our congregation to raise money for the event, and the one who gave the most could name whatever they wanted me to wear as a costume for the plunge.  Costumes as cheerleaders of favorite football teams–Vikings, Packers, Hawkeyes, Cyclones and Gophers– were popular choices.  But the high giver chose to have me dress as “Baby New Year” with a baby bonnet, bib, rattle, pacifier, diaper and Happy New Year sash. 

    “The worst part about the event was the anticipation for several weeks beforehand.  The air temperature that day in Milwaukee was 7 degrees F.  I ran into the water, waved to the fans, came out and dried off.  I decided that it wasn’t so bad and went back in again. 

    “The plunge is an annual Milwaukee event for some 2000-3000 people.  One man that I talked to  was 85 years old and it was his 60th plunge.

    “One of our Trinity youth made a short video of the event and it was shown to the congregation on January 6th and to our Sunday school as a preface to the Baptism of our Lord Sunday.”  (Click here to watch the video!)

    Trinity Lutheran Church members gave a total of $1,228.94 in honor of Pastor Frey’s crazy wonderfully bold adventure!

    Grassroots fundraising supports malaria programs a world away

    Posted on February 22, 2013 by jessicanipp

    Special thanks to Marcia Hahn, synod communicator for the Northeastern Iowa Synod, for sharing this article with us! It was published in the synod’s Feb 2013 newsletter, the Northeastern Iowa Star.  

    Walk into just about any ELCA church in the Northeastern Iowa Synod and you’re likely to see or hear something about malaria. The same is true for Lutheran churches in Africa where the ELCA Malaria Campaign is helping to bring malaria prevention, treatment and awareness programs to local communities.

    “The grassroots fund-raising efforts of congregations in our synod has helped bring grassroots malaria education to Lutheran congregations a world away,” says Pastor Mark Anderson, assistant to the Bishop. “Building on the trust of the local churches in African countries is one of the best ways to reach out to families and gain their acceptance of preventive malaria programs.”

    The ELCA Malaria Campaign works with companions to design and implement malaria strategies in 11 African countries: Angola, Central African Republic, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. A partnership with the Lutheran Communion in Southern Africa (LUCSA), a sub-regional expression of the Lutheran World Federation, is focusing on five of those countries where malaria prevention and programming is well established and is setting the groundwork for programming to expand into other regions.

    Angola malaria TOT 2

    A community leader in Angola teaches a malaria workshop.

    The ELCA Malaria Campaign helps congregations of the Lutheran church and other denominations in Africa build on their own abilities to oversee local malaria programming, such as keeping good financial records, training congregational leaders so they can train others, hiring coordinators and field officers, and advocating for families to know what their prevention and treatment options are.

    According to Jessica Nipp Hacker, coordinator of the ELCA Malaria Campaign, churches have a key role in communicating with families and teaching them skills that can keep their family members safer from malaria. Families learn to recognize malaria symptoms so they can get to a clinic within the first 24 hours. They learn to always ask for a diagnosis of malaria before accepting treatment so that they don’t overuse medications.

    Field officers tailor educational programs for the behavior and culture of the people living in a community. Mosquito nets—considered one of the most cost-effective ways to prevent malaria—can be misused without education and an understanding of their purpose.

    “In some places, some beliefs might hinder the usage of mosquito nets,” Hacker explains. “Nets have been used for fishing, as poultry runs for chickens and as bridal veils. Our education is very specific for what the net does and doesn’t do. It’s a life-saving opportunity to talk about how the nets are treated with insecticide to kill bugs on contact and to protect people.”

    Malaria programs help ensure that clinics are well supplied with safe, reliable medications and not any of the less effective or counterfeit drugs frequently sold illegally on the informal market. The ELCA-funded campaign partners with LUCSA and other malaria organizations to address some of the broader issues related to malaria, such as longterm poverty. According to Hacker, families living in poverty are more susceptible to getting malaria and dying from it due to malnutrition or diseases that compromise the immune system of women, children and men.

    “The LUCSA malaria program teaches income-generating skills, such as beekeeping, sugar cane farming, and gardening to sell produce at market so that people can work toward a sustainable livelihood with household incomes and the stability to seek treatment for malaria,” Hacker says.

    The creative fund-raising projects that ELCA congregations in the Northeastern Iowa started developing nearly two years ago have helped make these malaria projects in Africa possible. Sales of net corsages, mosquito swatters and T-shirts, special offerings, craft fairs and music events, vacation Bible school themes, honorary and matching gifts, and elaborate displays in the churches helped raise awareness and connect congregations with a common goal.

    “ELCA Lutherans are very generous people,” Hacker notes. “Once we understand the scope of the issue and the ways our companions in Africa are working to respond, that generosity explodes. It’s been an entirely positive and supportive response.”

    Mitchie, the Misunderstood Mosquito

    Posted on February 21, 2013 by jessicanipp

    Special thanks to Marlen Livezey, who wrote and shared this one-person skit, which was used with the Sunday school students at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Glenside, PA.

    mosquito2Hey listen!  Name’s Mitchie.  I represent the mosquitoes’ union—and I have a complaint!  I know I’m small.  I know I’m not colorful and cute like a ladybug or elegant like a butterfly, but WHY are you picking on me? Don’t you like to eat breakfast and dinner? 

    Well, so do I.  It just happens that I don’t have a jaw, a mouth full of teeth and a tongue like you do.  I have to suck up my meals through a sort of a straw.   So already you can see how limited my menu is. 

    But I’m not complaining about that.  I manage OK. You see, I quietly, politely sneak up on you so as not to disturb you.  Then I take a l-i-t-t-l-e bite and suck some of your yummy blood.  It’s not much, but it keeps me flying.  Heck! You have more than enough.  You can share a little.

    Besides, you can hardly feel it.  OK, so I leave an itchy bump.  Big deal!  The itch goes away in a day or two, doesn’t it?

    What’s that?  You say I spread diseases?  That every minute—every 60 seconds—someone in Africa, usually a child under the age of five, dies of malaria because of a mosquito bite? 

    Well, where do you think I get the malaria from?   Huh?  I get it from YOU.  That’s right.  If you didn’t have diseases like malaria or west nile virus or dengue fever or other diseases, I wouldn’t be spreading them, now would I?  It’s not MY fault.

    Another thing!  I don’t like those creams and sprays you put on your skin.  They give me a headache and spoil my appetite!  Spend your money on something better…like candy.  That would make your blood sweet.  Or buy perfumes, so I can find you more easily in the dark.

    And why do you destroy my eggs? I so carefully lay them in your puddles and buckets and saucers under your house plants.  They’re my babies.  How can mosquitoes survive if you keep dumping out the water and killing my eggs? 

    But the MAIN reason I’m here talking to you is, as I told you before, I’m from the mosquitoes’ union.  My friends sent me to tell you that they are finding it ever harder to get a decent meal because people are covering themselves with nets while they sleep.  THAT’S NOT FAIR!  We mosquitoes have to eat to live, too?  Don’t we?  [SWAT!]

    QUESTIONS:

    1. Where does someone, usually a child,  die of malaria every minute?
    2. Where are people sleeping under nets to avoid mosquito bites?
    3. From where do mosquitoes get diseases?
    4. What diseases are spread by mosquitoes?
    5. How do mosquitoes spread diseases?
    6. How can we control the number of mosquitoes?
    7. Why do you suppose malaria is not a big problem here?
    8. What do you think WE can do to help to save the lives of children in Africa?

    Wanted: Empty Mosquito Net Before Easter

    Posted on February 18, 2013 by allisonbeebe

    Pipe Cleaner MosquitoLord of Life Lutheran Church, at its two campuses located in Clifton, VA and Fairfax VA, will spend the season of Lent eliminating a swarm of pipe-cleaner mosquitos. Mosquito-covered nets are hanging in the narthex and it’s up to the congregation to make sure that they are mosquito-free by Easter. This story comes to us from Dorothy Sorrell, who volunteers as the Metro DC Synod coordinator for the ELCA Malaria Campaign. Dorothy writes:

    “The members of Lord of Life, Fairfax and Clifton, Virginia, have been invaded by 500 mosquitoes! The congregation members will need to donate $10, the cost of a mosquito net, so they can remove one of these pesky pests from the narthexes’ mosquito nets.  The $5000 that is raised from these exterminations will be forwarded to the ELCA Malaria Campaign to be used for programs that educate people about malaria, train leaders and prevent malaria.  Working with Lutheran Church bodies in eleven African countries, the ELCA Malaria Campaign’s goal is to make malaria history.”

    Lord of Life Campaign 1 Thanks to Dorothy for the story and Allen Butte for the photographs! We wish Lord of Life Lutheran Church much success with their Lenten campaign against malaria.

    What great projects has your congregation done to support the ELCA Malaria Campaign?  We would love to hear all about your efforts. Let us know at Jessica.Nipp@elca.org or Allison.Beebe@elca.org.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

     

     

    Making an Impact in Zambia: Part 3

    Posted on February 14, 2013 by jessicanipp
    Zambia open clinic

    An open clinic brings nets, diagnostic kits and medicines to a rural area in Northwest Zambia.

    In evaluating a community development program, one of my favorite metrics for measuring success and impact is the question of “most significant change.”   What is the most significant change in your community, or in your life, as a result of the program? What a wonderful way to measure impact.

    We asked this question to our companions in Africa who receive ELCA Malaria Campaign funding for their malaria programs. Here are some of the quotes that they shared with us from their communities:

    1.) “The Malaria Campaign program has really helped. There has been notable reduction in the burden of the disease in the area. Before the program started, people only slept under the nets during rainy seasons when mosquitoes are plenty. But now we all sleep under the nets throughout the year, and this has reduced the number of malaria cases in our village. My son will never go to sleep until he is covered with a mosquito net. We now know how to protect ourselves and we are not spending money on medicines anymore.”
    ~A mother in Simaubi, Zambia 

    2.)  “In the past, the people in my area didn’t know the symptoms of malaria and associated them with witchcraft. This led them to seek the help of herbalists, which complicated the malaria cases, and children were dying. As a result of the sensitization and awareness given in the church and the community, complicated cases of malaria are now rare.” 
    ~ A headman in Mununji, Zambia 

    3.)  “It is very encouraging to see our headman calling for malaria sensitization meetings at his home. Since the time our headman came from the training workshop which was conducted by the Lutheran Malaria Campaign program in Zambezi, so far he has held about three Malaria Campaign meetings. He is also involved in the teaching and he tells us that he doesn’t want to see anyone in his village die of malaria because it’s a disease that is curable, treatable and preventable.”
    ~ An elder in Dipalata, Zambia

    4.) “The malaria campaign program has helped because in the past we never had anti-malarial medicines or rapid diagnosis Tests (RDTs) and we never trained people to treat, test or give out medicines. But because of the malaria campaign program, we now have trained community workers, rapid diagnosis tests and anti-malarial medicines in our village and we treat malaria with the first-line medicines (called Coartem) provided by the church program. We never used to be tested for malaria before we were given medicines, but now we get tested by the community health center first.” 
    ~ An elder in Mununji, Zambia 

    My friends in the ELCA– let this be evidence that YOUR GIFTS ARE CHANGING LIVES. Thank you.

    Making an Impact in Zambia: Part 2

    Posted on February 13, 2013 by jessicanipp
    A traditional healer-- whose remedies won't cure malaria.

    This drama portrays a traditional healer– whose remedies won’t cure malaria.

    With support from the ELCA Malaria Campaign, Lutherans in Africa are providing malaria education programs in creative ways!

    A community group from Kulula, Zambia has created an educational drama, depicting a child suffering from malaria and his parents, who have differing ideas of how he should be treated.

    In the drama, the child lies shivering on the floor.  His mother wishes to take him to a medical clinic to see a doctor, and his father prefers the traditional healer of the village (who would not have access to malaria medicines). They bicker hilariously—but their comic portrayal communicates a very serious message: if a loved one is suffering from the symptoms of malaria, go to a doctor as soon as you can!

    This drama ends happily: the mother’s wishes prevail, the boy is finally taken to a doctor and treatment is successful.  This is a great example of the creative ways that the Lutheran Malaria Program is inspiring communities in Africa to take the malaria message to the streets and to educate households and communities about how to keep themselves safe from malaria.

    Their child is shivering and feverish... what is the best way to help him?  This educational drama portrays the choice available to many parents in sub-Saharan Africa.

    Their child is shivering and feverish… what is the best way to help him? This educational drama portrays the choice available to many parents in sub-Saharan Africa.

    Making an impact in Zambia: Part 1

    Posted on February 8, 2013 by jessicanipp

    Zambia Kashima in chargeKashima, Zambia

    Community members in Kashima, Zambia voiced concerns over the shortages of malaria medication in this area—particularly ACTs, which are the current front-line malaria treatment. At the government-run Kashima Rural Health Center, however, this shortage has not been felt firsthand, relates the woman who is in charge of the clinic (pictured, in white).  In part because of its partnership with the Lutheran Malaria Program in Zambia, the clinic in Kashima has not been compromised by the ACT shortage. Through this collaboration, Lutherans have helped to ensure a steady supply of ACTs to Kashima, in order to treat diagnosed cases of malaria in at the clinic. The Kashima clinic’s leader is hoping to increase the clinic’s collaboration with the Lutheran Malaria Program in the near future.

    We did it! Success in 2012!

    Posted on February 7, 2013 by jessicanipp
    Thermometer3

    Thank you for your 2012 giving!

    I’m very excited to share with you a great milestone– the ELCA Malaria Campaign has met its 2012 fundraising goal!

    You know that the ultimate fundraising goal of the ELCA Malaria Campaign is $15 million by 2015.  (And we have great confidence that your generosity is up to that challenge!)  Along the way, we also have annual fundraising goals– to make sure that our Lutheran companions in Africa have the resources that they need to keep their malaria programs running every year between now and 2015.  

    Our goal for Fiscal Year 2012 (which ended on January 31, 2013) was to raise $4 million.  And now we know– we did it!  Thank you so much for giving your time, talent and treasure to this ministry. We could not have done it without you!

    By giving so generously in 2012, we ELCA members have fulfilled our promises to our companions this year.  And our companions are fulfilling their promises to us as well– by designing, implementing and expanding anti-malaria programs in their communities in Africa.  These programs are making a positive impact on the health of many, many families.

    Stay tuned to this blog for stories of how your 2012 dollars have impacted communities in 11 countries in Africa!