Fighting Malaria means Fighting Ebola

The ebola crisis is complicated by miscommunication and mistrust among people of western Africa.  Imagine No Malaria has been in place for seven years in western Africa, and as a result its workers are among those trusted as sources of information on both Ebola and Malaria.  Here are excerpts from an August 15 UMCOR post by Julia Frisbie, INM Coordinator in the Pacific Northwest.  You can read the entire article here.
 

United Methodist health workers equipped by Imagine No Malaria to fight malaria are now also fighting Ebola. The same trained and skilled health professionals are on the front lines. 

“It is a blessing and a gift that a strengthened infrastructure is in place, thanks to the ministry of Imagine No Malaria,” said the Rev. Gary Henderson, executive director of Imagine No Malaria.  “No one dreamed that the church would be called upon in this way.”

Today, fighting malaria means fighting Ebola. Imagine No Malaria alone is not equipped to launch an emergency response to the Ebola epidemic, but we are part of a global denomination armed with the belief that the world is our parish. The people of The United Methodist Church are responding with supplies, grant money and advocacy. Your donations are making a difference in this fight.

Imagine No Malaria supports programs in all four countries where Ebola is present, and our comprehensive approach has strengthened hospitals and health posts.

Misinformation and denial are keeping sick people from getting help. Some people are hiding from government officials and medical teams because they fear that if they go into quarantine, they will never see their loved ones again. Since the early symptoms of malaria and Ebola are similar, many malaria patients are not getting treatment. This crisis jeopardizes the progress The United Methodist Church has made toward improving access to health care.

A big part of the fight against Ebola is a fight against fear. “If people don’t trust the government and the health care providers, they’re not going to get help,” said Shannon Trilli, UMCOR global health consultant.

United Methodists are working to get correct information to the people who need it most. In a statement, Liberian Bishop John G. Innis wrote, “United Methodist pastors, district superintendents and Sunday school teachers must share the information about the Ebola virus with their local churches and districts.”

Advocacy, prayer needed

Bishop John K. Yambasu of Sierra Leone chairs the Religious Leaders Task Force on Ebola.

“Our major focus is teaching the people the practices of personal hygiene as the only effective and sustainable way of preventing the disease,” he said. He noted that 80 percent of Sierra Leoneans belong to a faith group. Because they often trust their faith leaders more than they trust their elected officials, faith groups will be key players in changing the public discourse. “We work towards increasing community awareness and education,” Yambasu said.
 

When you donate through Imagine No Malaria, you join a global movement of The United Methodist Church to end preventable deaths and improve lives while at the same time strengthening health systems.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________