Pastor Knox serves a Lutheran congregation in rural Northwest Zambia.
“Before the malaria program came to our village,” relates Pastor Knox, “people had been using nets in the wrong way – for fishing, or as sleeping mats. This was a big problem.”
The Lutheran Malaria Program in Zambia emphasizes community-based education. All of the Lutheran pastors in Zambia have been trained in malaria prevention and control, and local volunteers have been trained to educate others. This education has helped the members of Pastor Knox’s congregation, and others in their community, to use their nets appropriately and to choose other healthy behaviors.
“Through the malaria program, we learned how to use the nets properly,” says Pastor Knox. “We learned how to hang them up and re-dip them [in insecticide] when necessary.”
The program is euqipping people to outwit the wily insects that transmit malaria. “We are learning to protect ourselves and to think like mosquitoes!” he shares.
Access to preventive supplies such as nets and insecticides is having a noticeable effect on the health of Pastor Knox’s parishoners. “Our risk of malaria has gone down,” he reports happily. “It used to be that there was always one person in a household who was down with malaria, and not able to work. But that is changing.”
“Poverty is a big issue for us,” says Pastor Knox. When breadwinners are constantly sick with malaria, the household income suffers. So when risk of malaria goes down, household stability goes up.
“We really appreciate the malaria program,” Pastor Knox says.