Faith leaders and J.C. Flowers Foundation partners are advocating for malaria elimination this World Malaria Day. Read statements from The Right Revered David Njovu, Sheikh Dr. Shaban Phiri, and The Right Reverend Andre Soares below.
Statement from Rt. Rev. David Njovu and Sheikh Dr. Shaban Phiri
This statement originally appeared on Zambia's End Malaria Council webpage.
"Today, in celebration of World Malaria Day, we call on all Zambians to join us in praying for the sick, caring for the afflicted, and protecting those whom are vulnerable to malaria.
Malaria affects more than 5 million Zambians each year. It weakens our families and kills pregnant women and our children. Defeating it must be a priority and a spiritual necessity.
Our faith teaches us that even the smallest things can be powerful and are worthy of our attention. In the Quran, Allah is “not ashamed to set forth any parable, even that of a mosquito” (Holy Quran 2:25). Although mosquitoes may be very small, they are the deadliest creatures on Earth because of the even smaller diseases they transmit. When we ignore the mosquito and malaria, we weaken our faith and our health.
Faith also demands that we care for ourselves (“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20); our families (“Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” 1 Timothy 5:8); and our communities (“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2). Luckily, fulfilling our spiritual duty is easy: (1) sleep under a mosquito net every night, (2) go to a community health worker or clinic if you or your family member has a fever, and (3) make sure that your neighbours are aware of the risks of malaria and take precautions too.
If you do not do these things, then remember the proverb: “A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.” (Proverbs 27:12).
We also call on faith leaders across the country to ensure that all Zambians are protected against malaria. We have a weekly platform to promote prudent behaviours amongst our flock. We also participate in pivotal moments, such as baptisms, when we can educate parents about the importance of sleeping under a mosquito net. If they do not have a net, there will be a nationwide campaign to distribute them this year.
Along with our fellow members of the End Malaria Council and all Zambians, we declare that 'malaria ends with me.'"
Statement from Rt. Rev. Andre Soares
"On this World Malaria Day 2020, we remember the memory of our beloved and fellow countrymen, lost by malaria disease, a preventable and curable disease.
With good reason, and with the hope of avoiding unnecessary deaths while this possibility still exists, the world is paying attention to COVID-19's raging and violent illness.
And in the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic, we must pay equal attention to a disease that kills even more people annually: malaria.
Everyone is taking action to prevent COVID-19, and if we had a treatment, everyone would rush to get it. But we already have ways of preventing malaria, and we already have a cure for malaria, but we do not facilitate and enjoy sufficient access to these precious resources.
Each of us has to take our responsibility to avoid this malaria disease that is devastating us. For us in positions of responsibility that decide how to invest our resources, we must prioritize the response to this vicious disease. For those of us who have mosquito nets, we must sleep under it daily, even in the heat. For those of us who have a voice of influence, we must encourage those we lead to take appropriate action. For those of us who manage health systems, we must establish efficient input distribution systems. The motto for World Malaria Day is “Zero Malaria Starts With Me” - and truly, each of us has a role.
We serve a God who desires life in abundance for his people. As Moses urged the people of Israel: CHOOSE LIFE, NOT DEATH!
For a malaria-free generation!"
-Dom André Soares, Bishop of the Diocese of Angola, Anglican Church