The Kansas East Conference is one of 12 conferences joining the Imagine No Malaria campaign to end preventable malaria deaths in Africa. The announcement was made during the 2012 Kansas East Annual Conference session at United Methodist Church of the Resurrection June 6-9.
Kansas Area Bishop Scott Jones announced a goal of every congregation participating in raising funds for Imagine No Malaria by the end of 2013.
“Every congregation can do something to fight this disease,” Jones said.
Jones said he decided the time was right for the Kansas Area to become involved in the campaign because of something he heard at the Council of Bishops’ meeting in November.
Bishop Tom Bickerton, the bishop of the Pittsburgh area, was the only representative of a religious organization in the room when Melinda Gates told global experts in the field of health that The United Methodist Church has made it their business to end malaria.
“That’s a powerful witness that we as a church are making in the larger culture,” Jones said.
Imagine No Malaria is a more comprehensive approach to addressing malaria than its predecessor, Nothing But Nets, and is often called “Nets Plus” among United Methodist leaders. When Nothing But Nets started in 2006, a child died every 30 seconds from malaria. Just six years later, that number has been cut in half.
“Every 60 seconds, a child in Africa dies from this preventable, treatable and beatable disease,” said Brittanie Wilczak, field coordinator for Imagine No Malaria. “We know this problem can be solved. We have the ability and resources to do something extraordinary about malaria.”
In 2008, the United Methodist Church committed to raising $75 million to eradicate this disease of poverty with assistance from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Global Fund, United Nations Foundation, and the World Health Organization.
This effort moves beyond providing bed nets to prevent the mosquito bites that cause malaria into a comprehensive model that includes prevention, education, communication and treatment of the disease.
“Imagine No Malaria is often thought of as ‘Nets plus,’” Wilczak said. “Insecticide-treated mosquito nets are still the best way to prevent malaria; however, other measures like draining standing water where the insects breed, trimming foliage and proper sanitation, also are critical to preventing the disease.”
That’s why Nothing But Nets was expanded into Imagine No Malaria in 2008 to address the other factors that influence the spread of the disease. Each year, the disease kills an estimated 655,000 people, most of the children younger than 5 and pregnant women.
“In the coming weeks and months, my team and I will be in the [Kansas] area training clergy and laity, local churches and communities on this important ministry,” Wilczak said.
Informational workshops are planned this fall in every district in the Kansas Area. Information about Imagine No Malaria may be found on the conference website, www.kansaseast.org/NoMalaria.
“Imagine No Malaria is our chance to live out our faith in action,” Wilczak said. “We, as a church, have been invited to help end the scourge of malaria deaths in Africa, and I invite the Kansas West Conference to join with us in this endeavor.”
An offering was collected at the Ordination and Commissioning Service for Imagine No Malaria. The offering raised $5,067.85.
T-shirts were sold at the conference session, raising nearly $1,800 for Imagine No Malaria. Additional t-shirts may be purchased by contacting Wilczak at email@example.com or online at http://www.kswestumc.org/registrations/register/268.
For more information, visit the conference website at www.kansaseast.org/NoMalaria.