Africa: Malaria Advocates Call On U.S. Congress

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- More than 100 Imagine No Malaria advocates, including United Methodists 40 annual conferences in 29 states and five from Africa, moved out across Capitol Hill on Tuesday this week to urge members of Congress to protect global-health funding.

The advocates made 119 calls on their legislators.One call resulted in a laudatory comment on the Senate floor by Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.

"America has always responded to the call to be a force for good in the world," Sessions said. "I just left a meeting 15 minutes ago with United Methodists from the North Alabama Conference who have a project to fight AIDS, HIV and malaria in Africa. This is part of the American heritage, and we do this every day, and it should be done." The senator also had staff members escort the Alabama group on the Senate underground train to the gallery to hear his speech.

Greg Nelson, director of communications for the Oregon-Idaho Conference, said that he, Emile Kroen and the Rev. Jim Frisbie visited with members from four congressional offices.

Frisbee and Nelson met Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., on the sidewalk outside the Capitol. After hearing the plea to protect funding for the President's Malaria Initiative, Blumenauer challenged them not to ask to hold funding but to ask for more to support this important program.

The Rev. Mike Dent, senior pastor at Trinity United Methodist Church in Denver, shared his thoughts in a blog "Saving lives in D.C.": What can you do to help? Pray for the campaign, those living and dying with malaria, and this gathering here in the nation's capital.

Tonight I walked by many memorials .... All paid tribute to those who sacrificed to make a better world. Our names will likely never be on such memorials, but we can sacrifice to save precious children threatened by the parasite received through the bite of an infected female mosquito.

To read reports from other conferences, go the the Imagine No Malaria website: "Malaria fighters knock at Capitol Hill doors." The Rev. Art McClanahan, Iowa Conference communications director, recorded presentations to the advocates throughout the two days of meetings. It is available at Why this effort is so important.

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