United Methodists Fund Education, Training and Medicine
Thanks to two first-time grants, vulnerable people in malaria endemic South Sudan will get the training and medicine needed to prevent deaths from malaria. Imagine No Malaria recently awarded a grant for nearly $50,000 to the South Sudan District of UMC health board, as well as a $325,059 grant to the UMCOR field office in South Sudan. These two programs in South Sudan are working together in a successful effort to fight malaria. These grants open the door for the UMCOR field office and health board to apply for larger external grants from other global entities.
"This grant means life to many people in the Lasu Payam district," said Dr. M. Lynn Fogleman, health coordinator of the South Sudan United Methodist Church health board. "Teaching people how to prevent malaria and giving them the tools to do so, will mean that the number of episodes of malaria will go down dramatically and when that happens, the number of people dying from malaria will also reduce greatly."
The grant to the health board will aid educational efforts such as malaria prevention and comprehensive maternal and child health training within these communities, training of area traditional birth attendants, and refresher training for technical staff at the government health facilities. The United Methodist health board in South Sudan will jump-start community educational sessions with radio talk shows.
Another important benefit of the funding is that malaria preventative medications will be provided to pregnant women and critical drugs will be provided to the various health facilities within Lasu Payam. In addition, an estimated 30,000 long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets will be distributed to people at risk of the deadly, but preventable disease through the work of the UMCOR field office in South Sudan.
South Sudan is the world's newest country. More than 22 years of Civil War have weakened the country's infrastructure and left it especially vulnerable to the ravages of malaria. Establishing an UMCOR field office will help the newly created health board overcome new nation birth pains and address malaria issues more aggressively.
"South Sudan is still crawling, not even walking," said Mandela Wani Michael, health board representative. "The challenges are enormous in all areas-health, education, water and many more.
These initiatives will help make the world a better place for human existence," she said.
In October, the health board grant kicked off with a mobilization of community leaders to get people organized for the educational component, while UMCOR ordered nets for communities and medicine for clinics.
"I rejoice that improving the lives of so many can be done with minimal technology at relatively low cost and is reproducible for future times," said Fogleman.
Because of its location in Sub-Saharan Africa, noted for its hot days and heavy rains, South Sudan is a magnet for mosquitos. Malaria cases throughout South Sudan increased by 20 percent in 2012.
The entire area of Lasu Payam, which is also comprised of a large camp of Congolese refugees, was chosen to receive the benefits from the grant so all the inhabitants could be helped. Nine prominent villages were selected so that all the people of the district can go to the nearest location for nets and education.
Fogleman said, "Now, with the education, the nets and the medicines, young children must not suffer and die with malaria. The pregnant women can make it to their expected delivery time. They will begin to survive and see their children grow up. They will begin to have hope."