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World Malaria Day: United Methodists to help blanket Sierra Leone with nets

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 24, 2009

World Malaria Day: United Methodists to help blanket Sierra Leone with nets

Washington, D.C.: On the eve of World Malaria Day, the people of The United Methodist Church announced they will participate in a nationwide nets distribution program in Sierra Leone in partnership with the United Nations Foundation andthe International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Bishop Gregory Palmer, President of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, made the announcement today while attending the One World Against Malaria Summit in Washington, DC.

The event brought together global and U.S. faith leaders, high-profile political officials, global health leaders, and senior representatives from the United Nations and international institutions to focus on working in partnership to end deaths from malaria by 2015. The summit was presented by the Center for Interfaith Action on Global Poverty and the UN Secretary General's Special Envoy for Malaria.

The objective of the One World Against Malaria Summit is to launch a first-ever, Sub-Saharan Africa-wide campaign to engage faith-based institutions, working in partnership with governments and the private and non-profit sectors, in increasing the distribution and use of mosquito nets and anti-malarial treatments. Attendees presented new commitments to action.

"As part of our commitment to raise $75 million to combat malaria through the United Nations Malaria Partnership, the people of The United Methodist Church will seek to help cover the entire vulnerable population of Sierra Leone with bed nets," said Bishop Palmer.

Palmer said that the involvement of churches and other faith-based organizations is critically important in helping to end malaria. "You will find The United Methodist Church in places in Africa where no one else is-sometimes at the end of and beyond the road. Because of our long history of mission and outreach, we have built up trust with those who live there and we are able to mobilize large numbers of volunteers," said Bishop Palmer.

The people of The United Methodist Church are founding partners in Nothing But Nets, a global grassroots campaign to prevent malaria through the distribution of long-lasting insecticide treated bed nets. To date, Nothing But Nets has raised more than $26 million. Within the UN Foundation Malaria Partnership, The United Methodist Church is also working with Lutheran World Relief to coordinate on the ground malaria intervention, treatment and awareness.

Leading up to World Malaria Day, the church asked members to consider giving up eating a lunch out and donate the money saved to buy a bed net-to skip a lunch, send a net, save a life. A donation of only $10 covers the cost of purchasing and distributing a net to a family in Africa. To donate, visit www.umcnothingbutnets.org.

About the United Methodist Global Health Initiative
Global health is a major focus for The United Methodist Church, which has more than 11.5 million members internationally and is in mission in more than 125 countries. A new Global Health Initiative (GHI) aims to combat diseases of poverty such as malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, as well as to create conditions for better health for people worldwide through partnerships, awareness, giving, health-education infrastructure and advocacy. The denomination has long been a key player in the fight against malaria, operating hospitals, clinics and mission centers across Africa for more than 160 years. Nothing But Nets is one component of the GHI.

Media Contact: Diane Degnan
(615) 742-5406 (office)
(615) 483-1765 (cell)
ddegnan@umcom.org

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