GC2012: Ziemer on Malaria

GC2012: Ziemer on Malaria


Tim Ziemer: It’s a pleasure
for me to take a moment to express my thanks
and appreciation to the community that makes up
The United Methodist Church. Frankly I’d love to be in
sunny Tampa, Florida to express my greetings and my thanks
and appreciation personally. But time and schedules
didn’t allow it. I just want to acknowledge
that The United Methodist
Church has been a significant, critical partner in the fight
against malaria to date. The United Methodist
Church has kind of set the
high bar, the standard, in how to engage as
a faith-based organization, as a denomination providing leadership and vision. When the United States
government got involved with the
President’s Malaria Initiative and Laura Bush, the First Lady,
launched the White House
Malaria Summit, The United Methodist Church
was at the table. When President Bush announced
the Malaria Initiative, it was
clear in his communication points that the United States
government cannot do it alone,
that we needed the business community and the private sector
and the faith-based community to
contribute as well. The United Methodist Church
has been with us every day
along this 5, 6 year trek. And since that
mobilization we have seen
tremendous positive trends. The World Health
Organization has reported
that close to 200,000 people a year are now alive
because of the efforts
of the partnership, the global community in
the fight against malaria. I just have spent some time with
ministers of health in Ethiopia
and Rwanda and Tanzania. They are reporting a drop
in malaria prevalence of 50 to 60% in malaria
cases in their clinics. When we started this Malaria
Initiative, a clinician showed me in her log book that they had over 51,000 cases of malaria. Last year they had 1,924. I
asked how many people had died. She reported zero deaths. And there’s been a huge
mobilization by the partners, including The United
Methodist Church as a major partner in providing
resources and advocacy. But primarily The United
Methodist Church has been involved in raising funds
and distributing nets. And since 2008, there have
been over 300 million bed nets distributed in
sub-Saharan Africa. If you just do the math, that
covers 574 million people who are now protected just through bed nets since 2008. And that is why we’re seeing
these remarkable trends in the right direction on malaria infections and malaria deaths. I would hope that as we look
at something like malaria, that we don’t take our
foot off the throttle. We have seen tremendous progress
made over the last 6 or 7 years. If we back off now, malaria
will spring back and it will
spring back with a vengeance. So what I first of all want to
thank The United Methodist
Church for what they’ve done and encourage you to continue
to look at health as a major ministry point and
stay engaged. We need you.

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