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Malaria Awareness Day Offers Opportunity to Save Lives

United Methodist Communications
Office of Public Information
810 12th Ave. S.
Nashville, TN 37203
www.umcpresscenter.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 3, 2007

Contact: Diane Denton
(615) 742-5406 (office)
(615) 483-1765 (cell)

Malaria Awareness Day Offers Opportunity to Save Lives through
Nothing But Nets Campaign to be Featured on 'American Idol'

The people of The United Methodist Church are using April 25, Malaria Awareness Day, as an opportunity to call attention to the plight of children in Africa, one of whom dies every 30 seconds from malaria.

Bishop Janice Riggle Huie, president of the denomination's Council of Bishops, is urging members of the denomination and others to skip lunch on Malaria Awareness Day and donate the money saved to send a lifesaving mosquito bed net to a child in Africa through Nothing But Nets.

The people of The United Methodist Church are founding partners in the Nothing But Nets campaign, a grassroots effort to prevent malaria through the purchase and distribution of bed nets in Africa-soon to be featured on "American Idol." In observance of Malaria Awareness Day, the denomination will observe the theme Skip a lunch. Send a net. Save a life.

"Bed nets are the most cost-effective way to protect children from the mosquitoes that carry this killer disease," the Houston-based Huie said. "This is an easy, tangible way to make a difference.

"Join me," she said. "I'm going to skip lunch and donate $10 to send a bed net. Skip a lunch. Send a net. Save a life."

A $10 donation to
www.NothingButNets.netwill pay for the cost of a bed net, sending it to a family in Africa and teaching how it can be used to protect children from mosquitoes at night, when bites are most likely.

On April 24th and 25th, Nothing But Nets will be featured during a two-night "American Idol" special "Idol Gives Back," designed to increase awareness and raise funds for organizations serving children living in poverty in Africa and the U.S. "American Idol" sponsors will make a donation for each vote viewers cast on April 24. On April 25, viewers will be able to make their own donations via toll-free lines and online.

Local churches are encouraged to join Malaria Awareness Day efforts by holding a noon worship service focusing on malaria on April 25 as a lunchtime alternative, or planning a fundraiser or other event to increase awareness of the disease. The United Methodist Church's Upper Room Living Prayer Center is planning a continuous 24-hour prayer vigil for the children of Africa, for those suffering with malaria, and for global health.

United Methodists have been in mission in Africa for more than 160 years, operating hospitals, clinics, schools and mission centers.

"Nothing But Nets is a visible part of our long-term commitment to eliminate malaria," Huie said. "Providing comprehensive health care to the developing nations of Africa is a long, difficult process. It will need to continue for generations."

April 25 has been observed as Africa Malaria Day since 2001, but this year marks the first time President George W. Bush has proclaimed the day as Malaria Awareness Day in the United States.

Inspired by Sports Illustrated columnist Rick Reilly, the Nothing But Nets campaign has raised more than $4 million so far-enough money for more than 400,000 nets. A challenge grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will match contributions dollar for dollar up to $3 million. Other founding partners are the United Nations Foundation and the National Basketball Association's NBA Cares.

To learn how to make a donation, visit
www.NothingButNets.netorwww.umc.org.nets.

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