This week, Bishop Ward was interviewed on My Carolina Today explaining the United Methodist commitment to Imagine No Malaria.
Valonda Calloway: Malaria isn’t a problem we have to deal with here in the United States. It is totally preventable, yet, it continues to kill someone every minute in Sub-Saharan Africa. United Methodists are committed to stopping malaria. Bishop Hope Morgan Ward from the North Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church is here to explain. It’s nice to have you here.
Bishop Ward: It’s a delight to be here, thank you.
Calloway: So, if malaria is 100% preventable, why is it occurring so much in Sub-Saharan Africa?
Bishop: In Sub-Saharan Africa, there has not been the opportunity which we have here in the United States to have the knowledge and the equipment. I have in my lap here a mosquito net, and these mosquito nets over the beds of children make a difference.
Calloway: Absolutely, because the malaria is carried through mosquitos, right?
Bishop: Carried through mosquitos, yes.
Calloway: Okay, so are the numbers going down? I’ve been hearing about this in Sub-Saharan Africa for years, but is it improving or about the same or getting worse?
Bishop: There is a dramatic improvement as a result of the generosity of people like us and people who are hearing our voices. Where mosquito nets have been used and where we have been able to increase the culture of understanding about malaria, over the last 7 years the annual deaths by malaria have gone down from 1 million to 600,000; almost a 50% decrease.
Calloway: Wow, that is incredible. You’ve raised quite a bit of money to do that, haven’t you?
Ward: We have. As United Methodist people around the world, we’ve set a goal of $75 million, in a campaign we’re calling Imagine No Malaria. We do imagine a world without malaria. We know it’s possible because of our experience here in this country and, as a result of great generosity, we are at $65 million. And, we’re inviting North Carolinians to be a part of a great effort to raise $1 million for Imagine No Malaria in these next weeks.
Calloway: Okay, how can we do that?
Bishop: You can do that by giving generously. One way to give simply is to text 27722 and then to enter “MALARIA NC” and then $10 will be sent to purchase a net or the $10 will also be enough to purchase 2 rounds of malaria medication for someone who has contracted the disease. You can also go to our website, nccumc.org/imaginenomalaria, and you can give through the website. Or, you can go a United Methodist church in your community, there are 2000 of them across the state of North Carolina, and we invite participation of all like-minded people who want to see malaria end.
Calloway: Because this isn’t just a Methodist issue.
Bishop: Not at all, it’s not. It’s a worldwide issue. It’s a human issue. It’s a preventable disease. We can make a difference. We do imagine a world without malaria and invite all like-minded people to participate with us.
Calloway: You already are making quite a difference. Thank you so much for the great work you do and for telling us how we can help.
Bishop: Thank you.
Calloway: nccumc.org/imaginenomalaria, that’s how you can get involved, or text “MALARIA NC” to 27722. Remember, that space is important.