Church making inroads against malaria in Africa

The church is working in some of the hardest to reach areas in Africa to tackle malaria.

The Province of Central Africa conferred its highest honour, the Order of the Epiphany, on philanthropists Christopher Flowers and Neville Isdell for their work alongside the church in tackling the disease during a service earlier this month.

The honour was given by Archbishop Albert Chama in St Stephen's Anglican Church, in Lusaka, in recognition of their leadership and long-standing support for the work of the church in eliminating malaria.

It comes ahead of World Malaria Day on 25 April when churches will pray and hold special events to raise awareness of the disease that kills a child every five minutes in Africa.

According to the World Health Organisation, the number of malaria cases has steadily fallen in the last decade.

Archbishop Chama emphasised the need for everyone to play their part and said its partnership with organisations like Christian Aid, faith communities and national governments was contributing to the significant progress that has been made.

"We believe that if anyone has malaria in our parish we all have malaria," he said.

Flowers, chief executive of of J C Flowers and Co, and Isdell, former chief executive of Coca-Cola, are working in partnership with Christian Aid and the Coca-Cola Africa Foundation, focussing their work along national borders.

Christian Aid said that border regions were often the most difficult places to work in and could be the last places to receive help fighting disease. By working through the church in remote communities in Zambia bordering Namibia and Angola, the Cross-Border Malaria Initiative has distributed education and health knowledge in addition to 100,000 insecticide treated mosquito nets.

Mr Flowers pointed to the advantage of working through churches: "I am delighted to be working with Christian Aid and the Anglican Church.

"The church has an efficient and effective delivery network and can reach beyond the end of the road.

"We know that by investing in malaria prevention we are increasing family incomes."

Mr Isdell, who grew up in Zambia, said: "Zambia has made considerable progress in malaria prevention and now we must sustain those gains across the borders in neighbouring countries.

"Mosquitoes aren’t limited by country borders and people cross national boundaries to go to church, to markets and visit extended families."

David Pain, Associate Director of Christian Aid, said: "This is a fitting recognition of the leadership by Chris and Neville and the effective partnership with Christian Aid. It is a good example of our partnership for change."

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