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Sierra Leone Video Diary: Celebration Thursday

Join the excitement. Watch a "Net Distribution" parade to kick off maternal and child health awareness week in Bo, Sierra Leone and to celebrate the arrival of 350,000 life-saving mosquito bed nets in the Bo District. The celebration is part of The United Methodist Church's effort to stop preventable malaria deaths in Africa.

Learn more at http://www.umc.org/sierra-leone-nets.

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Script:

(Locator: Bo District, Sierra Leone)

(Voice-over by Chancy Nthowela) These West Africans say it loud…and say it strong.

They want no more malaria.

Today, with the help of The United Methodist Church, the nation of Sierra Leone launched an unprecedented campaign against the disease that cripples their people economically, physically…and spiritually. 

The government’s maternal and child health week kicked-off in Bo District. The area of 650,000 people will be entirely supported by The United Methodist Church’s “Imagine No Malaria” campaign.

Bishop John K. Yambasu, Sierra Leone Annual Conference: “Oh, wow! We are right in the heart of Bo city, the second largest capital city in Sierra Leone and we are meeting here for the national launch of insecticide-treated bed nets.”

(Voice-over) While malaria is no cause for celebration, the distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets to every household in the nation is.

The nets save lives and are helping to drastically reduce the incidence of the disease that is a leading killer of children under the age of five and pregnant women. Dignitaries from all over the country gathered here to stress the importance of the net distribution and use.

In cooperation with the government, The United Methodist Church is responsible for the coordination and distribution of 350,000 nets here. The effort also includes the distribution of vitamins and medicine. The church’s involvement stems from its successful distribution here in 2010.

Bishop Yambasu: “So, yes, we are geared up -- all our workers, all our volunteers have gone all over Bo District and they are just ready to go out immediately after here today.”

(Voice-over) Unfortunately, during the launch of this campaign, the looming threat of the highly contagious and deadly ebola virus has concerned the health team.

And, yesterday, a riot in front of the police station by local motor bike drivers resulted in violence.  It has the district on edge and the turn out for today’s celebration was less than expected as the drivers protested.

Phileas Jusu, Sierra Leone Annual Conference:  “The motorbike riders are on strike…and where I'm speaking to you from is about two miles away from the heart of the city of Bo. So, because the motorbike drivers are on strike, they cannot convince people to this place and a lot of people cannot afford to walk to this gathering.”

(Voice-over) But, regardless of the challenges ahead, the team and its nearly two thousand volunteers will reach out to every household in this district in an effort to help the people sleep a little more safe and sound.