Namibia: Southern African Anglican Faith Leaders Mobilize Distribution of 26,000 Mosquito Nets to Eliminate Malaria in Rural Namibia

A local clinic, in Ondangwa filled with community members, illustrates the pressure and overwhelming demands on the health system. Through a collaborative approach that has evolved between various partners - J.C. Flowers Foundation, BASF, local Anglican faith leaders, and the government - each is empowered to play their role according to their strengths and regional presence.

press release

J.C. Flowers Foundation, which is working toward eliminating malaria in southern Africa, has joined forces with BASF, one of the world’s leading chemical companies, to deliver 26,000 Interceptor® long-lasting, insecticide-treated mosquito nets to rural and remote Namibia. Today, community and Anglican faith leaders gathered in the northern town of Ondangwa to mobilize a broad-reaching initiative that aims to reduce and ultimately eliminate malaria from the border regions of southern Africa.

“Through an innovative partnership between BASF and J.C. Flowers Foundation, and a creative approach that builds on the established relationships that faith leaders have in rural and remote communities, we can not only help save lives, but advance a shared global goal to eliminate malaria from our region,” said Anglican Bishop Luke Pato of the Namibian Diocese. “In the fight against malaria, Namibia has tremendous gains to build on and, now, more than any other time in the history, we must truly commit the resources, political will and the reach of the private sector to eliminate it,” Pato added.

Malaria claims the lives of approximately 445,000 people a year, 70 percent of whom are children under 5 years of age. It is estimated that up to 50 percent of preventable school absenteeism in high-burden African countries is caused by malaria, which costs Africa $12 billion in lost GDP annually. In Namibia, the fight against malaria has gained momentum, and a clear government commitment has led a 90 percent reduction in malaria rates.

“Malaria is preventable and treatable, but still it is arguably the most severe vector-borne public health challenge facing Africa and many other regions of the world. While increased efforts over the last two decades have drastically reduced malaria deaths and cases - malaria mortality rates dropped by more than 60%, averting 6 million deaths - new innovations and partnerships are still needed to maintain momentum.

That’s why BASF is committed to taking an active role in the control and eradication of this debilitating disease. We have been working in partnership with J.C. Flowers Foundation for many years and are very pleased to continue our support for their valuable work in combating the challenges of malaria,” said Benoit Fricard, Country Cluster Head of BASF Southern Africa.

The partnership between BASF and J.C. Flowers Foundation, through its Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative, is working together with the Namibian government and with support from the Global Fund toward the elimination of malaria. The Isdell: Flowers Initiative aims to shrink the malaria map by working in cross border areas of Namibia, Angola, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Africa, which is home to 91 percent of malaria deaths worldwide, victory against the disease is within reach. Yet to truly eliminate malaria, which claims one life every two minutes, we must put all of our energies to go “the very last mile”- the most difficult and important mile of them all. Isdell:Flowers, working with community religious leaders to strengthen surveillance, community education, diagnosis and treatment, seeks to couple an evidence-based elimination strategy with an enabling environment - of strong political will and financial support.

“Winning the battle against malaria is not a sprint, it’s a long, grueling marathon, and we must go the last mile,” said Neville Isdell, co-founder of the Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative. “It’s clear that if we are able to get a Coke to the most distant villages in the world, we can also get the essentials to eliminate malaria,” stated Isdell, who is former chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company. He added: “But proven tools to eliminate malaria will not work if people don’t use them. The Church's active work in communities to change people’s behavior is a game changer in the fight against the disease.”

“With funding, perseverance and creative solutions, the fight against malaria is ours to win,” stated Christopher Flowers, CEO of J.C. Flowers & Co and co-founder of Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative. He noted that for every dollar we invest in malaria, there is a $36 return in increased productivity. “It’s not only a smart investment, it propels us toward the last mile and toward our collective aim of global malaria eradication.”

“We are the readily accepted messengers in our rural and remote communities, and in this role, we are increasingly recognized as an effective force to combat malaria,” stated Pato. “It’s a role that we’re enthusiastic about.”

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