Interfaith group collaborating efforts against malaria

By: Megan Brauner/Adventist News Network
Date: 05/05/09
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Members of faith groups from around the world, including representatives from the Seventh-day Adventist Church, are coordinating efforts to slow the spread of and eventually eradicate malaria.

The One World Against Malaria Summit met April 24 in Washington, D.C. to discuss methods of partnering with government organizations and also between various faith communities.

During the summit, a group of Muslim and Christian leaders announced the Nigerian Interfaith Action Association against malaria, a cooperative of anti-malaria efforts between the faith groups located in the country.
U.N. Ambassador - Malaria day.jpg
United States Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice emphasizes U.S. President Barack Obama's commitment to fighting malaria during her keynote address at the One World Against Malaria summit. The summit featured faith groups from around the world and included representatives from the Seventh-day Adventist Church. [photo: Ralph Alswang]

Adventist Church leaders in Nigeria said they enthusiastically support the interfaith relief work.

"Many are dying daily in Nigeria through malaria," said Joseph Ola, president for the church in the northwestern region of the country.  "Once we pass the education to our people, they will spread it urgently to all cities, town and villages."

The United States Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice emphasized U.S. President Barack Obama's commitment to fighting malaria during her keynote address, the Associated Press reported. 

"President Obama is committed to making the United States a global leader in ending deaths from malaria by 2015," Rice said in her statement. "If we continue to work in the spirit of unity and shared purpose that has already led to substantial progress, this is a target we can hit."

Religious leaders added that faith organizations are in a unique position to aid the work.

"Malaria is something we must respond to together, and we can defeat it in a joint effort," said Rajmund Dabrowski, communication director for the Adventist Church and representative at the summit.  "The summit sounded a call to act and act together. As religious communities we have a network and an infrastructure to respond to common human needs like no other social system."

The Adventist Church is actively working to prevent malaria around the world. One project, Together Against Malaria (TAM), is an initiative of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency in Mozambique and the Inter-Religious Program Against Malaria. Launched in 2007, the initiative has helped provide malaria education to more than 1 million people and distributed 20,000 mosquito nets to high-risk groups.

The One World summit was organized by the United Nations Special Envoy for Malaria and the Washington-based Center for Interfaith Action on Global Poverty.
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