News Releases

Lutheran World Relief and Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod Announce US$45 Million Campaign to Fight Malaria in Africa

30 June 2011

Up to US$12 million Will Flow through the Global Fund

Detroit- Lutheran World Relief and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod this week announced a unique partnership to mobilize Lutherans in the United States in the fight against malaria in Africa.

The campaign, called the Lutheran Malaria Initiative, aims to raise a total of US$45 million towards the global goal of eliminating malaria deaths in Africa by 2015. In many communities in Africa where Lutheran World Relief and the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod work, poverty creates conditions that allow malaria to take hold and spread with deadly consequence. In addition to boosting the work being done by these organizations, up to US$12 million of the amounts raised through the campaign will flow through Global Fund to support malaria programs in Africa.

“Faith-based organizations are already critical providers of rural health care in many parts of the developing world,” said Professor Michel Kazatchkine, Executive Director of the Global Fund. “We are pleased to partner with the Lutheran Malaria Initiative and are looking forward to jointly continue the fight against malaria.”

The Lutheran initiative comes in addition to the United Methodist Church pledge of US$28 million to the Global Fund last September 2010. These two faith-based initiatives constitute a major contribution to the fight against malaria worldwide. Both partnerships were initiated with the support of the United Nations Foundation.

“The Lutheran footprint for providing care and mercy to those suffering is enormous,” Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, president of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod said. “For decades, we have been working with partners and fellow Lutherans to help provide healthcare in the poorest communities in Africa. Today, we are delighted to come alongside the LMI partners, like the Global Fund, to take a huge bite out of this horrid disease”. Rev. John Nunes, president and CEO of Lutheran World Relief, added “This is a day that has been years in the making, and for which millions around the world have been waiting”.

Malaria, a preventable and treatable disease, continues to devastate communities and perpetuate a cycle of poverty. According to the World Health Organization, nearly a million people die of malaria each year and every 45 seconds a child dies in Africa.

During the last ten years, tremendous progress has been made in the fight against malaria worldwide. The 20 countries with the largest malaria grant portfolios from the Global Fund have been able to rapidly scale up insecticide-treated net coverage, which has increased from low levels in 2000 to an average of 45 percent of households in 2009, and to an average of 42 percent in other recipient countries. Also thanks to Global Fund-supported programs, estimated malaria incidence and mortality are both steadily declining. These trend estimates are supported by observations of reported and confirmed malaria cases. Thirty-two of the 56 malaria-endemic countries outside sub-Saharan Africa reduced their number of confirmed cases by more than half between 2000 and 2009, and 11 endemic countries in sub-Saharan Africa achieved similar reductions.