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GC2012: Ziemer on Malaria

INTRO:

Rear Adm. Tim Ziemer, the U.S. Global Malaria Coordinator, acknowledges that The United Methodist Church has been an important partner in the fight against malaria. "The United Methodist Church has kind of set the high bar, the standard, in how to engage as a faith-based organization, as a denomination providing leadership and vision."

 

SCRIPT:

(Locator: Tampa, Florida)

Rear Adm. Tim Ziemer, The U.S. Government's Global Malaria Coordinator: "It's a pleasure for me to take a moment to express my thanks and appreciation to the community that makes up The United Methodist Church.

Frankly I'd love to be in sunny Tampa, Florida to express my greetings and my thanks and appreciation personally. But time and schedules didn't allow it.

I just want to acknowledge that The United Methodist Church has been a significant, critical partner in the fight against malaria to date. The United Methodist Church has kind of set the high bar, the standard, in how to engage as a faith-based organization, as a denomination providing leadership and vision.

When the United States government got involved with the President's Malaria Initiative and Laura Bush, the First Lady, launched the White House Malaria Summit, The United Methodist Church was at the table. When President Bush announced the Malaria Initiative, it was clear in his communication points that the United States government cannot do it alone, that we needed the business community and the private sector and the faith-based community to contribute as well.

The United Methodist Church has been with us every day along this 5, 6 year trek. And since that mobilization we have seen tremendous positive trends. The World Health Organization has reported that close to 200,000 people a year are now alive because of the efforts of the partnership, the global community in the fight against malaria. I just have spent some time with ministers of health in Ethiopia and Rwanda and Tanzania. They are reporting a drop in malaria prevalence of 50 to 60% in malaria cases in their clinics. When we started this Malaria Initiative, a clinician showed me in her log book that they had over 51,000 cases of malaria. Last year they had 1,924. I asked how many people had died. She reported zero deaths.

And there's been a huge mobilization by the partners, including The United Methodist Church as a major partner in providing resources and advocacy. But primarily The United Methodist Church has been involved in raising funds and distributing nets. And since 2008, there have been over 300 million bed nets distributed in sub-Saharan Africa. If you just do the math, that covers 574 million people who are now protected just through bed nets since 2008. And that is why we're seeing these remarkable trends in the right direction on malaria infections and malaria deaths.

I would hope that as we look at something like malaria, that we don't take our foot off the throttle. We have seen tremendous progress made over the last 6 or 7 years. And it's incumbent on all of us--the governments, the private sector and businesses-to continue in this global partnership, focus on the same outcome, and together work towards achieving an outcome. If we back off now, malaria will spring back and it will spring back with a vengeance.

So what I first of all want to thank The United Methodist Church for what they've done and encourage you to continue to look at health as a major ministry point and stay engaged. We need you."

Posted: May 7, 2012

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