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Rosemount United Methodist Church helping fight against malaria

A child dies every 45 seconds from malaria. Not long ago, it was every 30 seconds.

A big reason for that slowdown is the efforts of the United Methodist Church.

"Our church is fighting really hard to end suffering from malaria," said Leia Williams.

Williams is a field coordinator for Imagine No Malaria, a program put together by the United Methodist Church to combat malaria related deaths.

On Feb. 12 Williams spoke to the Rosemount United Methodist Church congregation about Imagine No Malaria and how the church can help. The United Methodist Church and other world organizations have made it a goal to eliminate death and suffering from malaria by 2015.

"As Christians we can accomplish really amazing things and we feel eliminating death and suffering from Malaria is something we can do," said Williams.

Malaria is a parasite that is transmitted through female anopheles mosquitos. According to the World Health Organization in 2010 Malaria caused 655,000 deaths, mostly among African children. Malaria is preventable and curable.

Imagine No Malaria uses a four prong approach including prevention, education, communication and treatment, said Williams. The community-based approach aims to fight Malaria at all levels to effectively eradicate it.

The biggest prevention methods are bed nets and controlling the mosquito populations, said Williams.

Imagine No Malaria trains people within communities to educate their communities about avoiding Malaria. Workers go door-to-door delivering and installing bed nets and teaching people how to properly use and care for nets.

For those who become infected, getting treatment is crucial. She said the church has worked to put the infrastructure in place to treat people including opening medical clinics, hospitals and health posts. Additionally she said making sure those facilities have the medicines to fight the disease.

Lastly the program has upgraded communication networks throughout Africa to make sure the message is getting out. The program has built radio stations and provided hand-crank and solar-powered radios to get broadcasts out to people.

"It's an incredible process that is working," said Williams.

Rosemount United Methodist has been heavily involved with the prevention effort. The church has raised more than $90,000 for the Nothing But Nets program, with a goal of reaching $100,000. According to a church newsletter more than 8,900 children's lives have been saved through the effort.

The church remains committed but will work to help through the Imagine No Malaria campaign, which puts all the pieces together said pastor Paul Baudhuin.

Baudhuin said Biblical scripture calls for Christians to act to heal the sick. By participating in the campaign Rosemount United Methodist is putting its faith into action and working to end preventable deaths, he said.

Besides speaking with the congregation at large, Williams also did an educational program for kids who attend the church. Williams put together four stations where kids could learn about Malaria.

Baudhuin said the program touched the kids and they raised more than $200 that night through the sale of bracelets.

Going forward, Baudhuin said the church will pray and talk about what it wants to do to support Imagine No Malaria.

"We are deeply passionate about this and there is a lot of energy around it," said Baudhuin.

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Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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