This year’s Trans Kunene Malaria Initiative’s Community Malaria Award was presented to Ohadiwa, Namibia in recognition of the community volunteers’ contribution to malaria prevention and elimination. Chris Flowers and Neville Isdell, Co-founders of the Isdell: Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative, recognize the highest performing communities in Namibia, Angola, Zambia, and Zimbabwe with the award annually.
The Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative (IFCBMI) relies on a network of community malaria volunteers, working through the Anglican Church, to support malaria elimination efforts in the border areas of Angola, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Specifically, The Trans Kunene Malaria initiative (TKMI) encompasses the shared border between Angola and Namibia. TKMI community volunteers conduct malaria education and household visits to ensure all community members understand how malaria is spread, and how to precent it. During household visits, volunteers ensure that bed nets are being used, and that any person showing malaria symptoms receives a malaria test and treatment if needed. This community-based work is critical to malaria elimination efforts, and helps ensure malaria does not spread across the border.
The community of Ohadiwa, Namibia celebrated their successful year in malaria prevention during International Malaria Week. The Kwanyama Queen, local council leaders, and Bishop Luke Pato of the Anglican Church of Namibia joined the celebration.
Susan Lassen of IFCBMI recognized the important role of the volunteers in the fight against malaria at the community level. The Queen of Kwanyama and the local leaders also lauded the important work conducted by community malaria volunteers in Ohadiwa.
During the celebration, four community malaria volunteers used drama and song to further educate the community about malaria. These volunteers were also able to meet with the Queen and local leaders.
The TKMI Community Award celebration coincided with World Malaria Day activities, during which the Minister of Health of Namibia, Dr. Haufiku, and the Minister of Health of Angola, Dr. Sambo, jointly celebrated the day on the Angola-Namibia border. Members of the TKMI program attended, including Bishops Andre Soares of Angola and Luke Pato of Namibia. The General Secretary of CICA, Rev. Deolinda Teca was also in attendance. IFCBMI’s contribution to malaria prevention was recognized by both Ministers of Health, who called upon both countries to increase cross-border collaboration for malaria elimination. Namibia’s Minister of Health emphasized the need to work in the community and with the community, house to house. He urged local leaders to work together to fight a common enemy, Malaria.
These messages re-enforce the community-based model employed by IFCBMI, and recognizes the work currently conducted by TKMI teams and community volunteers. A big congratulations to Ohadiwa on the great achievements.
View more photos from the celebration below.
Malaria is preventable and treatable. Yet in 2015, the disease claimed the lives of an estimated 429 000 people and there were an estimated 212 million new cases of the disease. On World Malaria Day, the World Health Organization is emphasizing the importance of malaria prevention in reducing the number of malaria cases and deaths. Learn more from the infographic below.
This article originally appeared in All Africa.
Following a decade of progress towards malaria elimination, the majority of Elimination 8 (E8) countries (Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe) have hit a plateau in the fight against malaria.
Given the region’s stagnating progress, cross-border collaboration and innovative partnerships are more critical than ever. Recognizing this, Ministry of Health representatives, E8 officials, nonprofit partners and religious leaders from four of the E8 countries convened in early March at the 5th annual Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative Round Table meeting in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
Read the full story here.
This news release was originally published by the World Health Organization.
13 DECEMBER 2016 | GENEVA - WHO’s World Malaria Report 2016 reveals that children and pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa have greater access to effective malaria control. Across the region, a steep increase in diagnostic testing for children and preventive treatment for pregnant women has been reported over the last 5 years. Among all populations at risk of malaria, the use of insecticide-treated nets has expanded rapidly.
But in many countries in the region, substantial gaps in programme coverage remain. Funding shortfalls and fragile health systems are undermining overall progress, jeopardizing the attainment of global targets.
The 2016 World Malaria Report, released today by the World Health Organization, highlights progress made towards malaria elimination, and puts forth a technical framework for all endemic countries as they work towards malaria control and elimination.
The report comments on declining malaria incidence and death rates, and increasing coverage of insecticide treated mosquito nets and the use of intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy (IPTp) for pregnant women.
Despite these gains, progress towards malaria elimination must be accelerated in order to meet elimination targets, and more funding is needed in order to ensure sustainability.
Read the full report and its findings here.
This article was originally published by the Episcopal News Service.
A prolonged drought in Cunene Province, Angola, has led to food insecurity and extremely high levels of stunting and malnutrition among the population.
El Niño effects and four seasons of lower than average rainfall have affected more than 1.4 million people, including 756,000 children in the Southern African country. In the three most affected provinces, including Cunene, more than 800,000 people are food insecure, and an estimated 95,538 children under age 5 require treatment for severe malnutrition, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund.
The Anglican Diocese of Angola, the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire, and the dioceses of Manchester and London in England, are working in partnership to support Mothers Union members in delivering life-saving malnutrition interventions to children in the region.
In times of extreme drought, identifying malnourished children early saves lives. To date, the four Anglican Dioceses have supported the training of 40 Mothers Union members so they can screen children in their own communities and refer children to health facilities. It is anticipated that Mothers Union members will screen at least 3,600 children within the next six months and deliver six information and social behavior change workshops by the end of 2016.
The dioceses of Angola, New Hampshire, Manchester and London have been working in partnership for the last 10 years to support women and young girls, with the view that support for these groups leads to improved community livelihood, health and education.
The partnership in Angola is focused on supporting the Mothers Union in Cunene Province (Ondjiva, Namakunde and Santa Clara) in responding to local needs around malnutrition and education. The region’s drought, which began in 2014, has meant minimal to no harvest, as well as large impacts on livestock. In 2016, the expected long rains have failed again, and it is anticipated that this year will be even more challenging with more food insecurity.
While the training of Mothers Union members will certainly contribute to the health and wellbeing of Cunene, there is still a need to implement long-term strategies that will enhance community resilience and disaster risk reduction, such as:
ECHO (European Union), in collaboration with World Vision Angola, UNICEF and the Angolan Ministry of Health, are leading the response in Cunene and are working closely with the Mothers Union malnutrition program.
Conference Highlights Important Role of the Church in Combatting Malaria and Strengthening Health Systems in Angola
The Angolan Council of Christian Churches (CICA), in collaboration with the Angolan Ministry of Health, hosted the National Conference on the Role of the Church in the Fight Against Malaria, HIV/AIDS, Improved Maternal and Child Health and Strengthening of National Health Systems. The three-day conference, beginning on October 4th, took place in Luanda, Angola.
CICA, an interfaith Christian organization comprised of more than 1 million members promotes unity of faith and social intervention. CICA’s health department is responsible for implementing health projects, and supports member churches in running church health facilities and implementing behavior change communication activities for malaria, HIV/AIDS, and child and maternal health. Given its standing in the community, the church has a unique and important role to play in promoting health. Efforts to educate communities and mobilize health workers are already taking place in order to strengthen the overall heath system.
The CICA conference took place amid ongoing, concurrent malaria and yellow fever epidemics – both concentrated in Luanda. While the implementation of Angola’s National Strategic Plan for Malaria Control, supported by key international partners and donors, led to a sharp decline in malaria between 2000 and 2015, Angolan municipalities and districts located within Luanda have witnessed a gradual increase in malaria cases since 2013.
The increase in both malaria and yellow fever cases warrants immediate action and partnership in order to reduce the burden of disease. Given this, a central purpose of the conference was to increase the involvement of Angolan religious leaders in controlling and eliminating malaria. CICA and affiliate partners identified the provinces of Cabinda, Uíge, Malange, Kuanza Norte, Lunda Norte, Sul Namibe, Cunene, Huíla and Kuando Kubango, as priorities, given their high malaria transmission rates.
Representatives from the Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative and the Trans Kunene Malaria Initiative participated in the conference – leading workshops on church engagement in cross-border malaria initiatives and the integration of gender into health messaging. The Minister of Health of Angola, Dr. Luís Gomes Sambo, and U.S. Ambassador Helen Meagher la Lime provided opening remarks. Rev. Deolinda Teca of CICA moderated the conference and Archbishop Emeritus of Luanda, Dom Anastácio C, provided the opening homily.
Moving forward, the involvement of the private sector and the forging of innovative partnerships will be crucial in the fight against malaria. Through long-lasting, committed partnerships, Angola can reduce the burden of disease and achieve a healthier future for its communities.
"We Are Tomorrow's Adults" An ICNY Youth Intern on the Importance of Interfaith Engagementfor Young New Yorkers
This post was originally published on the ICNY's Interfaith Matters Blog.
by Dominique Da Silva, a senior at Avenues: The World School
This summer I had the pleasure of working with The Interfaith Center of New York (ICNY). During the week, I would walk up to the office along Riverside park to attend a staff meeting. Everyone in the office (five or six people) would come together and discuss what they were working on — redesigning the website, fundraising efforts, organizing trainings or panels. After the meeting everyone was immediately back to work and incredibly busy planning the next important event at ICNY.
On Thursdays, I would go to the Harlem Community Justice Center to volunteer, with ICNY's executive director, The Rev.. Chloe Breyer. Chloe and I would sit with other religious leaders and hand out breakfast or supplies and talk to those who were awaiting their parole hearings. This program at the Harlem courthouse is unique to any other courthouse as it helps to reduce recidivism rates in New York by implementing the ideal meaning of restorative justice. It uses a personalized approach with each hearing, creating relationships between the parole officers, former convicts, and their judges. One of the parole officers explained to me that the people within the program were carefully selected and that they were mostly individuals who had committed violent felonies. Although the program seems to be successful, I was struck by how such few programs like this exist across the nation, and how challenging it is to get the program approved and started.
Later in the summer, Princeton student interns organized a panel on restorative justice that was hosted by ICNY to provide supplemental training for the Harlem Youth Court. According to the Harlem Community Justice Center website, the youth court is made up of teenagers who live in New York City and are deeply passionate about improving their communities. These students, aged 14-19, are trained to handle real life cases and serve as jurors, judges and advocates. Rev. Breyer moderated a panel comprised of Imam Abdus-Salaam Musa, Rabbi Andrew Scheer, and Pastor Hector "Benny" Custodio. The topic was titled "Restorative Justice: How Faith Communities Can Heal Communal Pain."
The panelists, all chaplains at the Rikers Island Correctional Center, shared personal stories that inspired everyone to stay aware, outspoken, and helpful. It made me realize how important it is for youth to care about interfaith engagement in New York City. As we are tomorrow’s adults, one day we will be the people running these programs; therefore, it is important for students to be educated early on about issues of police brutality, and how to restore balance in broken communities. It affects all of us in one way or another and in order for issues to change we all must put in the work. The panelists called out injustice in the justice system and also explained the impact of police brutality and how to restore trust in communities after a tragic impact. I have been to diversity conferences before and have heard individual stories of racism in the criminal justice system, but in this intimate and special setting, everyone was moved.
The Youth Speak Out Conference at ICNY's Marshall Meyer retreat was when I first saw
major leadership from youth in various faith groups. The stories these young people eloquently shared touched everyone in the room. We heard from Muslims who had experienced abuse in their families post 9/11. We also heard stories of those who took the tragedy as an opportunity to engage in interfaith work: to protect and remove stigma towards the Islamic religion. As I realized many of the faith groups in New York have suffered through so much discrimination, it made me want to be more active in spreading awareness and advocating human rights for those who do not have the voice to do so. Hopefully, I can bring a similar panel to my school one day. It was heartening to hear about these youth groups that have done so much for their faith communities in New York.
When I saw people from different religious groups come together and communicate their journeys with others, it showed me how important it is to reach beyond our own circles of comfort. We need to share our stories in the hopes of coming to a solution about the disturbing issues that more than one community faces. Once we rid ourselves of misunderstandings, we discover a greater awareness. And in the work we take on, the young people of New York City can demonstrate and teach that awareness to our families, friends, and schools.
Leading Advocacy Groups Sponsor Event at St. Bart’s Church to End Prolonged Solitary Confinement in New York State
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 17, 2016
Benny Witkovsky, West End Strategy Team
Benny@westendstrategy.com; (o) 202-766-7700, (c) 202-765-4290
New York, NY - The St. Bart’s Church, Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement, Circles of Support, Correctional Association of NY, and the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) are sponsoring an event on October 20, 2016 to educate the public about solitary confinement in New York prisons and jails, and to advocate for passage of the Humane Alternatives to Long Term (HALT) Solitary Confinement Act (A4401/S2659), legislation which would implement humane alternatives to long-term solitary confinement in New York State. In place of isolation, the bill proposes rehabilitative and therapeutic interventions to address the root causes of behavior. This presentation and panel discussion, featuring formerly incarcerated individuals and other subject matter experts, is free and open to the public.
Momentum to confront the practice of solitary confinement in New York State, in states from coast to coast and at the federal level has been steadily growing for the last several years. With the recent growth in media coverage and the historic reforms won in court by the New York Civil Liberties Union in 2016, a grass-roots coalition of local organizations has formed in recent years to build on and continue this forward trajectory.
Rev. Laura Markle Downton, Director of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture's U.S. Prisons Program, said, "The HALT Act is crucial for New York, and is also serving as a model nationally in the movement to abolish the torture of solitary confinement, with similar bills introduced in other state legislatures including New Jersey, Illinois and Rhode Island. With the President, the Pope and a U.S. Supreme Court justice all decrying solitary confinement, the tide is turning away from extreme isolation toward therapeutic interventions. For communities of faith who prioritize restorative justice, we believe an end to solitary confinement is a moral issue."
Members of the media are invited to attend the event and panelists will be available for interview.
Who: National Religious Campaign Against Torture and panelists - Scott Paltrowitz, Associate Director, Prison Visiting Project at Correctional Association of NY; Mary Buser, Author of “Lockdown on Rikers”; Victor Pate, Organizer, New York Campaign For Alternatives to Isolated Confinement, Ede Fox as Master of Ceremonies, Social Justice Committee Member, Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph
What: “Solitary Confinement: Torture in Your Backyard” Panel Discussion, followed by a public Q & A session
Where: St. Bart’s Church, 325 Park Avenue at 51st Street, New York, NY
When: Thursday, October 20, 2016 from 6:30 – 8:30 pm
American Friends Service Committee, Blessed Sacrament, Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement (CAIC), Cases.org, Centro Altagracia of Faith and Justice, Church of St. Paul the Apostle, Church of the Ascension, Church of the Assumption, Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph, Circles of Support, Correctional Association of New York, Crossroads Community, Grace and St. Paul’s Church, Harlem Renaissance High School, Harlem Think Tank, Holy Trinity Church, Incarcerated Nation, J.C. Flowers Foundation, John Jay College, Ladies of Hope Ministry, Legal Aid Society – Prison Visiting Program, National Action Network, Network Support Services, New York City Catholic Worker, NYC Mass Incarceration Committee – National Lawyers Guild, National Religious Campaign Against Torture, Oratory Church of St. Boniface, Pax Christi, Peace and Justice Task Force, Unitarian Church of All Souls, Prison Watch Program, Providence House, Release Aging People In Prison, Saint Bartholomew’s Church, Social Justice Committee – Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church, Social Workers Against Solitary Confinement, Street Corner Resources, The Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice – Fordham University, The Fourth Universalist Society, The Prison Ministry of the Riverside Church of NY, West End Presbyterian Church
Scott Paltrowitz, Associate Director of the Prison Visiting Project (PVP), joined the Correctional Association of NY in January 2012. Scott pursues investigation, documentation, and advocacy aimed at improving conditions for individuals incarcerated in New York State. Scott also engages in coalition building, community outreach, and advocacy challenging particular abuses of the prison system, including solitary confinement, brutality, and the lack of adequate medical care and mental health services. Before joining the CA, Scott undertook different forms of refugee, immigration, and human rights advocacy both in the United States and abroad. He received his J.D. at Harvard Law School, his Master’s in Public Administration, and Bachelor’s in Industrial Labor Relations at Cornell University.
Mary E. Buser, author of Lockdown on Rikers (St. Martin’s Press, 1/29/15) was a clinical social worker in the Rikers Island Mental Health Department. She served as Assistant Chief of Mental Health in the island’s Mental Health Center, as well as the 500-cell Punitive Segregation Unit. Since leaving Rikers, she has been an outspoken advocate for the incarcerated, especially the mentally ill and those held in solitary confinement. Her Op-ed, “Solitary’s Mockery of Human Rights” was published in the The Washington Post (4/14). She has been a guest on the “Brian Lehrer Show,” and was featured in the New York Daily News. Excerpts from her book have appeared in Politico, Salon, and Vice.
Victor Pate, Organizer, New York Campaign For Alternatives to Solitary Confinement, did a three-month stint in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day during the late 1980s when he was imprisoned in Sing Sing. Pate, a Harlem resident, said the loss of human contact during that time drove him to it. “That short period of time I was isolated put me in a state of mind I’ve never been before,” he said. “I found myself hallucinating, sort of like I was in a surreal world.”
Pate and the other organizers of the New York Campaign, are calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to reform the practice in the state. The Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement (CAIC) has a 4,000-member network that host rallies and creates other calls to action across the state.
The organizers also used virtual reality goggles to take passersby into a solitary 6-by-9 feet cell. The goggles displayed a gloomy room with a sliver of light coming into the cell from a tiny window, along with a twin-sized mattress, a toilet, sink and a makeshift desk.
“No one should be placed in a situation where they are cut off from human contact,” Pate said. “It creates a whole different person. I have never been, and will never be the same as a result of my experience in solitary.”
The HALT bill, Humane Alternatives to Long Term Solitary Confinement Act, proposes to reform the practice. The bill would shorten the time a person can be in solitary to 15 days. The entire United Nations General Assembly passed the Mandela Rules in 2015, which prohibited any time beyond 15 days, because it could amount to torture. It would also provide rehabilitation and counseling services.
Ede Fox, Social Justice Committee Member, Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph, has had a long career in public service, currently working as the Director of the Economic and Community Development Division at the New York City Council for Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. Ms. Fox also served as chief of staff for Council Member Jumaane Williams, and prior to that Legislative and Budget director for Speaker Mark-Viverito. She has deep roots in civic life, running in a competitive race for City Council in 2013, as well as serving on Community Board 8 for ten years. Ms. Fox was born and raised in New York City. She attended Vassar College then graduated with a BA in Anthropology from the University of Michigan, an MA in Anthropology from UCLA and advanced to candidacy for her PhD in Anthropology at UCLA, including three years in the Netherlands conducting research for her Dissertation. She has been a member of the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph’s for 4 years and lives in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.
The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) is a membership organization committed to ending U.S.-sponsored torture, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. Since its formation in January 2006, more than 300 religious organizations have joined NRCAT, including representatives from the Catholic, evangelical Christian, mainline Protestant, Unitarian Universalist, Quaker, Orthodox Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Baha’i, Buddhist, and Sikh communities. Members include national denominations and faith groups, regional organizations and local congregations.
NRCAT.org @NRCATtweets facebook.com/nrcat