United Methodists fight malaria in Angola


   On Fri., Oct. 12, residents of Bom Jesus, Angola received 9,000 insecticide-treated mosquito nets to help protect them from malaria.
     The nets were delivered house-to-house throughout the community by a locally trained cadre of community educators who will also host a delegation of United Methodists from the U.S. and the West Angola United Methodist Church. The local NGO Africare has been a significant partner in planning this program, the first for The United Methodist Church in Angola.
    A launch event was held at the Bom Jesus United Methodist Church, concluding with volunteers from the West Angola Conference and Africare beginning the distribution of nets. United Methodists from the U.S. will assist in the continued nets distribution on Saturday. The West Angola Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, with the support of the Angola Ministry of Health, identified Bom Jesus as a place with a high incidence of malaria.
     Most of the population lives along the Kwanza River, where conditions are conducive to malaria and other diseases. The funds for the nets were provided by the Rocky Mountain Conference of The United Methodist Church in partnership with the West Angola United Methodist Church. Under the leadership of Bishop Elaine J.W. Stanovsky, both the Rocky Mountain Conference and the Yellowstone Conference of The United Methodist Church, located in the Northwestern U.S., have committed to raise additional funds for Imagine No Malaria, a United Methodist initiative working to end preventable deaths from malaria in Africa with a goal of raising $75 million for prevention, education and treatment.
     “It’s just the beginning of what we hope the West Angola Conference can do through its newly established health ministry to promote health and long life for people across the region,” said Bishop Stanovsky. Speakers at the launch event voiced their support and involvement in the Bom Jesus project, including: Bishop Gaspar J. Domingos, Maria Adao Somhi, Kwanza-Bengo District Superintendent, Bishop Elaine Stanovsky, Bishop Warner Brown of the Cal-Nevada Annual Conference, Rev. Gary Henderson, Imagine No Malaria, and Nyamah Dunbar of UMCOR.
      The event featured music from the Bom Jesus United Methodist Church choir. In addition, a distribution team will perform skits to show proper use of mosquito nets. This net disbursement honors Dr. Abel da Silva, a medical doctor who served as the health board coordinator for the West Angola Annual Conference and practiced at the Bom Jesus Clinic prior to his death in 2012.
      He was active in seeking partnerships between the West Angola Conference and the Rocky Mountain Conference to begin an anti-malaria campaign in the region. While in Bom Jesus, several of the special guests will attend a program to dedicate a medical clinic that has been refurbished in recognition of Dr. Da Silva’s work with malaria. Financial and logistical support for this program is being provided by the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), the humanitarian and relief agency of The United Methodist Church. The distribution of nets was coordinated by Africare, a humanitarian organization that provides logistical and distribution support. The entire project has been done with the full support of the Angola Ministry’s National Malaria Control program in collaboration with the West Angola United Methodist Church.
     United Methodist Communications Office of Public Information www.umcpresscenter.org.