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Malaria Ravages Congo Poor



Celebrities like Bono and George Clooney have made malaria more of a news story recently - but for families struggling in Africa, the disease is an ever-present threat. Villagers in a remote part of the DRC hope to have some relief with more bed nets and a clinic for care. The aid comes too late for one woman who lost most of her loved ones to a mosquito's bite. Gary Henderson has her story.

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(Locator: Kasungami, Democratic Republic of Congo)

In Kasungami in the Democratic Republic of Congo, daily burdens are heavy. Cast off like a tattered garment, the village lies at the feet of a majestic presidential palace. Of the 20,000 living here, many are refugees. Locals say they are the poorest of the poor.

Mama Rose is a resident here. Malaria has stripped her of every precious thing she ever had.

Rose Nambing, Kasungami, DRC: "My husband died from malaria. Seven children died from malaria. So, I don't have anyone."

She expects that one day the bite of a mosquito will take her too. She lives alone in this one-room house in a neighborhood that has no clean water&ellipsis;just this putrid swill. It's the same water that will likely cause the malaria death of one in five of these children.

This mother knows too well the danger.

Kayembe Ilunga, Kasungami, DRC: "I wanted to take my child to the hospital but I could not afford to do that, so he died."

Shortly after her two-year-old died, her seven-year-old son succumbed to the disease.

Funda Jamaleso, Kasungami, DRC: "When someone has malaria, you are looking at someone who is going to die."

There is scarcely anyone here who has not lost a loved one to malaria. There is no access to care. There are no mosquito nets. No drugs. But The United Methodist Church offers hope where little hope exists through Imagine No Malaria.

Mama Rose: "I don't want anyone else to lose their life to malaria. It is painful when you lose someone from this disease."

Here in Kasungami, Nazareth United Methodist Church is a pivotal partner in prevention, education, communication and treatment. Someday the church will have a clinic, distribute medicine and bed nets, and teach people how to prevent and survive malaria. Someday, together with communities like this, we will achieve victory.


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Posted: January 26, 2011