United Methodist Church Hosts Nothing But Nets Partners in Angola

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February 15, 2007

United Methodist Church Hosts Nothing But Nets Partners in Angola

LUANDA, Angola: The people of The United Methodist Church hosted two Nothing But Nets partner organizations-the United Nations Foundation and NBA Cares-on a malaria observation trip to Angola. The objective of the trip was to look at the effects of malaria firsthand to learn more about care and treatment of the disease, as well as the need for mosquito nets in Africa.

Nothing But Nets is a life-saving campaign to prevent malaria by raising funds to purchase and distribute mosquito bed nets in Africa. An insecticide-treated bed net can protect a person from mosquitoes that spread malaria. Nearly 500 million people are infected each year.

The West Angola annual conference of The United Methodist Church organized visits to hospitals and clinics for the delegation, which included NBA legend Sam Perkins, Ruth Riley of the Detroit Shock, NBA executive Brooks Meek, Elizabeth McKee, director of marketing for the United Nations Foundation, and U.S. staff from agencies of The United Methodist Church.

"We were able to observe, learn and speak with the people of Angola about the deadly disease of malaria. We visited multiple hospitals and saw the horrible effects of malaria up close. We saw anemia, cerebral malaria, babies with low immune systems who subsequently got HIV, mothers and fathers who are ill, and children who were orphaned when their parents died from malaria," said Elizabeth McKee.

The group also met with health officials to learn more about malaria in Angola and the factors that contribute to the country's malaria problem, as well as officials at the U.S. embassy.

Angola has the second highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the world. Only 30 percent of the population has access to potable water and 60 percent of sanitary systems have been destroyed. Sixty percent of the population lives under the poverty line.

Last year, the Measles Initiative-another partner in the Nothing But Nets program-delivered over 800,000 long lasting insecticide-treated nets in 7 of Angola's 18 provinces, but many more nets are needed. Bishop Gaspar Domingos of theWestern Angola episcopal area said that the malaria problem in Angola is so serious that people may have malaria six or seven times a year.

Members of the delegation plan to take what they have learned and share it with people in the U.S.

"On this trip, we learned the true importance of long-lasting insecticide treated," said Elizabeth McKee. "People are using the nets and stopping the mosquitoes that spread malaria. The real challenge is meeting the tremendous need for nets throughout Africa."

NOTE: To send a net and save a life, visitwww.NothingButNets.netorwww.umc.org. A $10 donation will pay for the purchase and distribution of an insecticide-treated bed net. United Methodists can also give to Nothing But Nets through churches by designating their gift for Advance #982015.

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