Anglican bishops tackle malaria

22 January 2019 | Health

Bishop Luke Lungile Pato of the Anglican Diocese of Namibia says leaders of the faith community can play an important role in supporting efforts to eliminate malaria because of their close connection with people at grassroots level.

“It is important for faith leaders and churches to be involved in combating malaria. Churches are present in communities. They are trusted, respected and active everywhere. Churches extend the reach of existing national services and can use their experiential knowledge of the local context to identify and take action against the specific local drivers of malaria,” Pato says.

He is one of four southern African Anglican bishops who have declared war on malaria, which the World Health Organisation (WHO) says still kills approximately 445 000 people globally annually. More than 90% of these deaths occur in Africa. Children form a significant percentage of people who die of malaria in Africa.

The other bishops are Archbishop Albert Chama, archbishop of central Africa, Bishop Cleopha Lunga of the Diocese of Matabeleland in Zimbabwe, Bishop David Njovu of the Diocese of Lusaka in Zambia; and Bishop Andre Soares of the Diocese of Angola.

Towards the end of last year Pato and his fellow bishops visited the United States to drum up support for efforts to rid the region of malaria.

“There are many players who grapple with other diseases such as the Aids pandemic and tuberculosis (TB). Very few people have committed to eliminating malaria. Yet interventions to eliminate malaria require joint efforts. Together we can eliminate malaria for good,” Pato says.

In a recent interview Pato said churches could not sit idly by while malaria ravaged their congregants.

“Malaria kills if it is not diagnosed and treated early. A large part of the population in the Diocese of Namibia live in northern Namibia where many cases of malaria have been reported especially in the Kavango region,” he said.

On what role church leaders can play, Pato highlighted creating awareness about the dangers of malaria, dismissing myths and encouraging people to seek treatment where necessary.

“We can help train nurses and volunteers to conduct rapid diagnostic tests and to distribute mosquito nets, especially in remote inaccessible areas.”

The bishop said the Diocese of Namibia has done a lot to combat malaria.

“The diocese recently distributed 6 500 mosquito nets to communities and hospitals, especially in the Omusati and Ohangwena regions. Our key partner is the ministry of health and social services in those regions. Our main donor partner is the JC Flowers Foundation from New York.”

On the recent trip to the USA, Pato said the objective was to motivate those with influence in decision-making in the US “to triple efforts in financing the fight against malaria”.

He said mosquitoes are developing resistance to insecticides and malaria parasites are developing resistance to existing treatment.

Pato said while in the USA the bishops met five senators individually. His assessment is that all the senators they met were in favour of influencing the US government to significantly increase its financial contribution towards the Global Fund project.

“The USA has been the biggest contributor towards this fund and its contribution has influenced other countries in the past. The Global Fund project supports Sustainable Development Goal Three, which strives to ensure healthy lives and promote the wellbeing for all people.

“The goal is to end the epidemics of Aids, tuberculosis and neglected tropical diseases and to combat hepatitis, waterborne diseases and other communicable diseases. The senators assured us of their support,” he said.

On how the financial support that the bishops have been canvassing would be used, Pato said the funds would not go to the Anglican Church but to the governments of the countries in which the bishops reside.

“The churches partner with the health ministries to access funding. Our visit was sponsored by the JC Flowers Foundation, which is committed to work with the churches in sub-Saharan Africa.”

Pato said the diocese of Namibia has a cross-border agreement with Angola to bolster efforts to eliminate malaria.

“This agreement recognises that malaria knows no borders.”

He said between 1 May 2017 and 30 September 2018 the Namibian Diocese supported the training of 35 nurses (26 Angolan, 9 Namibian), 14 outreach officers in Angola and four environmental health officials in Namibia.

MOSES MAGADZA

Similar News

 

Foreign graduates protest 'unfair' tests

4 days ago - 15 February 2019 | Health

Dozens of foreign-trained medical and dentistry graduates took to the streets yesterday to protest against a pre-internship exam which they claim is unfair and discriminatory.One...

Health ministry dumped us into poverty

1 week ago - 12 February 2019 | Health

A group of trainees who successfully completed a community-based healthcare training programme in 2017 accuse the health ministry of plunging them into poverty and despair...

TB Consortium MoU inked

1 week ago - 08 February 2019 | Health

Elizabeth JosephOn 31 January, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed for the establishment of the TB Consortium by the Namibian University of Science and...

Hepatitis E claims 40 lives

2 weeks ago - 04 February 2019 | Health

Forty people, including 17 women who were pregnant or had recently given birth, have died from the prolonged hepatitis E outbreak that broke out in...

PSEMAS fraudsters in Schlettwein's sights

3 weeks ago - 28 January 2019 | Health

Finance minister Calle Schlettwein says no stone will be left unturned in efforts to bring those who have defrauded the Public Service Employees Medical Aid...

Health to defend N$30m lawsuit

3 weeks ago - 24 January 2019 | Health

The health ministry and former minister Bernhard Haufiku are ready to defend a N$30 million lawsuit seeking damages for alleged negligence that led to the...

Anglican bishops tackle malaria

4 weeks ago - 22 January 2019 | Health

Bishop Luke Lungile Pato of the Anglican Diocese of Namibia says leaders of the faith community can play an important role in supporting efforts to...

Manganese health concerns for Lüderitz kids

1 month - 11 January 2019 | Health

Over the past week alarmed Lüderitz parents and other residents have called for a local primary school that opened its doors this week to stay...

Winning the war on HIV/Aids

1 month - 10 January 2019 | Health

Namibia is making inroads in the fight against HIV/Aids, according to findings published by the University of Columbia's Mailman School of Medical Health. The results...

Key populations count

1 month - 28 December 2018 | Health

SADC Members of Parliament have adopted minimum standards that have been developed for the protection of key populations in the context of HIV and Aids.Key...

Latest News

Ondangwa creates 'home' for illegal...

15 hours ago | Government

ONDANGWA – The Ondangwa Town Council plans to relocate over 100 illegal settlers from Uutala to the Onantsi area, where it recently serviced 120 plots.Uutala...

Gold at two-week high on...

15 hours ago | Business

Gold prices rose to their strongest level in more than two weeks yesterday as the US dollar weakened on hopes the United States and China...

Noordoewer seeking status as a...

15 hours ago | Government

NOORDOEWER – The councillor of the Karasburg West Constituency, Paulus Ephraim, has urged government to consider proclaiming the settlement of Noordoewer a town as the...

No retrenchments at ODC, NDC

15 hours ago | Government

The head of the newly established Namibia Industrialisation Development Agency (NIDA), Uparura Kuvare, says no staff members of the former Offshore Development Company (ODC) and...

Drought fear looms large

15 hours ago | Disasters

ELLANIE SMIT Namibia faces a 150 000-tonne grain shortfall by the end of April this year, as...

Two in court after record...

15 hours ago | Justice

ILENI NANDJATO Northern businessmen Paavo Hatutale (47) and co-accused Nicodemus Shekunyenge (21) appeared before the Ohangwena Magistrate’s Court yesterday in connection with...

No limits for Doeseb

15 hours ago | People

Michelline Nawatises Axali Doeseb has been playing ice hockey since 2003.Every day after school he would jump the Tagesheim aftercare centre’s fence to watch...

The weight of expectation

15 hours ago | Columns

A huge weight of expectation will undoubtedly rest on political leaders vying for office later this year. While there is a sense that the current...

The lack of sexual ideology...

15 hours ago | Columns

Justicia Shipena Not only does thinking about sex matter, it matters more to humanity than sex in itself. There are many instances of the...

Load More