Malaria-X aims to cross malaria out

By staff writers
14 Apr 2010

In the lead-up to World Malaria Day on 25 April, the Faiths Act Fellows in London are collaborating with a team of volunteers to organise ‘Malaria-X’ with the aim of teaching people in Britain's capital about malaria and inspiring them to take action against this killer disease.

Malaria kills nearly one million people a year, mostly children under five in sub-Saharan Africa. Alongside the human cost, malaria also has an economic cost: it costs the continent of Africa $12 billion in lost productivity every year. And yet it is entirely preventable and treatable and has been eradicated in over 100 countries worldwide.

At Malaria-X, guests will hear about the science behind malaria, listen to a personal testimonial from someone who has suffered from malaria themselves and find out about the work that Project Muso is doing to combat malaria in Mali. There will also be time for guests to mingle and get to know each other and hear some live music.

Entry to the event is free, as the aim is to keep it open everyone. There will, however, be opportunities for guests to donate, should they wish to, through the ‘A Note for a Net’ campaign. This campaign, running over the weekend of World Malaria Day (25th April) encourages individuals and organisations to donate a £5 note. £5 is the cost of producing an insecticide-treated bednet, distributing it to the relevant communities and educating those communities about its proper use. Such a bednet can save the lives of two people.

All funds raised through this initiative will be matched by former Prime Minister Tony Blair, doubling the value of the donations. The money raised will support the work of Project Muso’s Community-Based Malaria Programme in peri-urban Mali.

This programme aims to create a model community-based delivery system for malaria prevention and treatment. It works through three principle strategies: the training and employment of Community-Based Health Workers, who provide home-based diagnosis and treatment; the provision of a solidarity fund, which removes financial barriers for the poor; and the strengthening of clinical infrastructure, which builds capacity to meet increased demands.

The work of the volunteers behind Malaria-X is being coordinated by Natasha Steele and Myriam Volk, two ‘Faiths Act Fellows’. The Faiths Act Fellowship is a programme initiated by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation (TBFF) and the Inter Faith Youth Core (IFYC). It brings together 30 young people of diverse faiths from the UK, US and Canada. Their aim is to establish local hubs of young people of diverse faith, focused on raising awareness and funds to end deaths due to malaria.

Steele and Volk said, “It is a privilege to support Project Muso, whose work we were able to witness when we visited Mali last August, through the Walk for Women. Project Muso has realised that it is important to build on the assets of the community, for example the Community Health Workers are all local women. As these women already have relationships of trust with their neighbours, they have been able to have tangible effects on increasing access to healthcare and educating the community about disease prevention.”

To book your free ticket for Malaria-X, e-mail myriam.volk@faithsactfellows.org.

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