Why We Give: Imagining No Malaria
For several years, Jo Chesson, a member of Pasadena UMC who serves on the conference staff as project manager for the Grow Spiritual Leaders Team, has had a special place in her heart, and her ministry, for ending malaria in sub-Saharan Africa.
When she began her work, every 30 seconds a child in Africa was dying from malaria. Conditions have gotten better. Through programs like the United Methodist’s Imagine No Malaria, a child now dies only every 45 seconds.
It’s a statistic that still breaks Chesson’s heart and compels her to help local congregations reach out in creative ways to raise money to end this killer disease.
Recently, United Methodists in Virginia and the United Methodist Committee on Relief, with whom Chesson works, began a ministry to help bring clean water to Zimbabwe.
At the Waiting Women’s Shelter, a condemned building at Old Mutare Hospital in Zimbabwe, there is no running water or working bathrooms. There is a constant battle against rodents. Expectant mothers must cook their meals in an outdoor kitchen and fetch water from one of two wells on the hospital grounds. When it is time for mothers to deliver their babies, nursing staff rely on a bucketful of water and an UMCOR birthing kit during delivery.
Zimbabwe still faces emergency humanitarian challenges in the form of water-related diseases like malaria. The underlying cause is related to the lack of safe drinking water and inadequate sanitation, resulting in poor hygiene practices.
Chesson celebrates the creativity of people who have created a ministry to address the needs of hospitals with no clean running water. She also prays that every United Methodist congregation will find a way to reach out financially and prayerfully to defeat malaria and save the lives of Africa’s children.
Contributions to Imagine no Malaria can be sent to: BWC Treasurer, 11711 East Market Place, Fulton, MD, 20759.