Christian Aid has partnered with US investors, Chris Flowers and Neville Isdell, and the Coca Cola Africa Foundation to launch an innovative new 18-month cross border malaria programme through the Zambian Anglican Council.
The programme will contribute to efforts to eliminate malaria in sub-Saharan Africa.
It aims to demonstrate the importance of malaria prevention programmes that cross national borders and the churches role in fostering the necessary collaboration and coordination required.
In 2008 there were 247 million cases of malaria and nearly one million deaths, mostly among children living in Africa. In Africa a child dies every 45 seconds from Malaria and the disease accounts for 20 per cent of all childhood deaths (source WHO).
The international development agency will manage the programme in Zambia, which is funded by the JC Flowers Foundation in partnership with Neville Isdell and Christian Aid.
It will operate in four districts that border with Namibia and Angola with a goal of reducing cases of malaria in those areas by 40 per cent.
The Zambia programme is part of a wider initiative funded by the Isdell Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative (CBMI), established by Chris Flowers and Neville Isdell, former CEO of Coca Cola.
The Zambian Anglican Council will implement the programme and establish links with sister churches in Namibia and Angola.
The new work aims to demonstrate the value of churches in implementing community based cross border malaria programmes.
One hundred malaria control agents will be trained to run a community education programme encouraging essential behavioural changes, such as consistent use of bed nets. The agents, identified by their communities, will undertake a household survey and registration to identify the most vulnerable family members in their area.
They will teach communities to recognise the symptoms of malaria and when and how to seek treatment. 30,000 long lasting insecticide nets will be distributed and their use continuously monitored.
Neville Isdell said: ‘Malaria elimination is now a real possibility and faith based organisations have a unique part to play in the effort to achieve elimination of malaria in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Swaziland by 2015.
However, eliminating malaria within a country is impossible if borders with endemic areas are porous, resulting in malaria re-emerging.’
Chris Flowers, founder of the JC Flowers Foundation said; ‘Investment in Zambia is an essential part of this strategy. Working with the churches across Zambia, Namibia and Angola is an innovative approach and mobilises religious leaders who have access to remote rural communities.’
The Zambia programme aims to reach 310,000 people and will have a strong emphasis on assessing and recording the impact of the work in order to encourage other churches in the region.
David Pain, head of Christian Aid’s Africa division said: ‘This is a groundbreaking project which is made possible by funding from the JC Flowers Foundation and Neville Isdell.
It has the potential to significantly contribute to malaria elimination in sub-Saharan Africa.
Cross border malaria work is a new direction for us and is in response to the need expressed by our partners in Zambia. We know that in the fight against malaria it is not enough just to distribute nets, we have to ensure that communities understand the importance of using them every night.
We hope this new initiative with the Zambian Anglican Council will demonstrate that churches have the ability to continually reinforce this message and significantly reduce the malaria burden in an efficient, cost effective way.’
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Notes to Editors:
The project will be launched in Zambia on 29 September 2010.
Malaria facts source WHO – http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs094/en/
Chris Flowers is also chairman of NetsforLife, a malaria prevention effort in seventeen countries in Africa.
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