Today on World Malaria Day, Imagine No Malaria moved forward with plans to distribute nearly 400,000 life-saving insecticide-treated bed nets in the Bo District of Sierra Leone on June 5, 2014.
Trained volunteers plan to distribute nets door-to-door, as well as educate people how to use and maintain them properly. Such efforts have made a big difference.
“We know this ministry is working,” said Bishop Thomas Bickerton, who chairs the United Methodist Global Health Initiative. “In the past eight years, the church has helped cut malaria’s death toll in half. Find out how. Beyond that, Imagine No Malaria is not only saving lives, it is contributing to church growth.”
In 2010, a similar net distribution in Sierra Leone provided almost every household with three nets per family. After the net distribution in 2010, Bishop John Yambasu in Sierra Leone reported that several tribal chiefs requested help in creating United Methodist churches where none had previously existed.
On a recent trip to Sierra Leone, Gary Henderson heard villagers describe how their lives have changed because of the insecticide-treated bed nets. Henderson, executive director of Church's Global Health Initiative, said the experience showed him again that the ministry is God-inspired.
"Almost every adult raised a hand when we asked for volunteers to share stories of how sleeping under bed nets had changed their lives," he wrote. "Many of the more than 100 people gathered in the village center told how their families had not suffered from malaria since they began sleeping under the bed nets.
The distribution in Bo is in conjunction with the Sierra Leone national plan to distribute more than three million bed nets nationwide as part of an integrated health campaign that will also provide Vitamin A supplements and de-worming medication to children there.
Earlier this month, Imagine No Malaria announced that United Methodists have donated $60 million to fighting malaria, which equates to 80 percent of the denomination’s goal of raising $75 million by 2015.