J.C. Flowers Foundation Joins Zambian Minister of Health in Calling for Increased Community Engagement to Eliminate Malaria in Southern Africa

J.C. Flowers Foundation
Pictured from L to R: Neville Isdell, Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative; Anne Flowers, J.C. Flowers Foundation / Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative; Chris Flowers, J.C. Flowers Foundation / Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative; The Honourable Dr. Chitalu Chilufya, Minister of Health, Zambia; Dr. Mutinta Mudenda, National Malaria Elimination Centre, Zambia; Dr. Namani Monze, Provincial Medical Director, Southern Province, Zambia
6 March 2019
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Livingstone, Zambia — Malaria partners join together in Livingstone, Zambia at the Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative Round Table

Several countries within Southern Africa, including Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, are aggressively working to eliminate malaria within the decade. The engagement and participation of those living in malaria endemic areas should be a central component of malaria elimination strategies, urged Chris Flowers and Neville Isdell, Co-Founders of the Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative, a program of the J.C. Flowers Foundation.

Zambian Minister of Health, The Honourable Dr. Chitalu Chilufya, stressed the urgency of eliminating malaria in Zambia, and the importance of involving communities in the elimination process, during his remarks at the meeting’s formal opening on March 1 st .

“We will not have success in universal health coverage without eliminating malaria,” he said, “and we will not have success in eliminating malaria if we do not engage effectively with the community.”

There has been significant progress towards malaria elimination over the past 15 years: the number of malaria deaths has been cut nearly in half since 2004 (from more than 790,000 in 2004 to about 435,000 in 2017), and 37 countries that previously had malaria are now malaria-free. However, 3 billion people live in places that are still at risk of malaria.

The J.C. Flowers Foundation’s Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative partners with national governments, the Anglican church, non governmental organizations (NGOs), and community members to eliminate malaria along the shared borders of Angola, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The Initiative is comprised of 1,700 community malaria volunteers who provide malaria education, rapid testing, and treatment in places that are beyond the reach of most NGO and even government services.

Chris Flowers, Founder of the J.C. Flowers Foundation and Co-Founder of the Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative, provided opening remarks, emphasizing, “we will only conquer malaria if we all do our part and work together.” He relayed a message of encouragement, sharing, “We started here in Zambia 15 years ago, and we’ve made a tremendous amount of progress since then. I hope we will all be together 15 years from now in a malaria free Zambia.”

Neville Isdell, Co-Founder of the Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Initiative and former Chairman and CEO of Coca Cola, stressed the importance of ensuring effective “end to end processes” for malaria elimination – meaning that each link in the chain, from bed net manufacturing, to ensuring a child sleeps under a bed net, needs to be functioning properly.

“We are still on a journey of learning, and the one thing we need to continue to do is think of all those links in the chain, and be critical of ourselves and others,” he said. “If we see that one of the links is not working, the money we are spending will go to waste because of one failure point along that line.”

During the 2-day meeting, the Anglican Church pledged its commitment to further engage with communities in the battle against malaria. The Most Reverend Albert Chama and the Right Reverend David Njovu, Bishop of the Diocese of Lusaka, participated in a dialogue at the Round Table around the role of faith in malaria elimination.

Chama stated, “ It is our role as a church to be involved in health-related matters. When we talk about the healing of people, it is not only spiritual but also physically that they are healed…We need to take a front seat so that we can be able to inform people the dangers of malaria, so that it can be prevented.”

The campaign slogan, “Zero Malaria Starts With Me” was prominently displayed during the Round Table meeting, urging every individual to take personal responsibility in the fight against malaria. Kenneth Tembo, a fisher from Zimbabwe, exemplified this theme in the story he shared: once he realized the dangers of using his mosquito bed net for fishing, he stopped this behavior and now is an advocate in his community for proper practices to protect oneself against malaria.   “If I use my bed net for fishing, I’m digging my own grave, ” he said.

Round Table participants, in addition to those mentioned above, included King Mario Satipamba, King of the Onaluheke Kingdom in Angola; Chief Mundandwe of the Mishilundu Chiefdom in Liuwa Plain National Park; Dr. Richard Kamwi, Elimination 8 Ambassador; Anglican Bishops from the Dioceses of Angola, Namibia, and Matabeleland; representatives from the United States Agency for International Development’s President’s Malaria Initiative, The RBM Partnership, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, The MENTOR Initiative, Malaria No More, United Kingdom; University of California San Francisco’s Global Health Group, Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs, MACEPA, Macha Research Trust, and BASF.

Media Contact:

Name: Alexandra Gordon

Phone: +1 603 490 0692

Email:  Agordon@jcflowersfoundation.org

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