Anti-Malaria Work Continues in Mozambique
by Mary Beth Coudal
“Like HIV and unsafe water, malaria in Mozambique is a weapon of mass destruction… I have four grandchildren and I hope to take them there someday,” said Global Ministries missionary Carol Kreamer, coordinator of Mozambique Initiative in the Missouri Area.
Although The United Methodist Church, like many faith-based groups, is doing all it can, it is not yet enough to save one of its own church workers, Laurina Osseia, who is remembered by Kreamer, a friend and colleague in the story, “Each statistic has a name. Laurina.”
Almost a year after the United Methodist Community-Based Malaria Prevention Program was launched at the United Methodist Hospital Kissy in Sierra Leone, the anti-malaria work continues through an ecumenical and interfaith effort in Mozambique. Doctors, teachers, and volunteers attempt to wipe out this recurring, deadly, and preventable disease.
There is urgency to the work because the disease is taking its toll.
“When you know the name, it becomes more than a non-person, more than just another who has died from malaria every ten seconds somewhere in the world. Laurina Osseia. A young woman of thirty-four, a mother, a student, a wife, a devout Christian, a United Methodist, a worker, a friend. Laurina,” wrote Kreamer in a recent article.
“Malaria does not discriminate between Muslims and Christians,” begins a statement by the Inter Religious Campaign against Malaria in Mozambique (IRCMM) an umbrella group of which The United Methodist Church is a founding member.
Dr. Cherian Thomas of the health and welfare area of Global Ministries will travel to Maputo, Mozambique from August 7 to 10 to meet with United Methodist Bishop Machado and other religious leaders from IRCMM. Dr. Thomas is the staff person in charge of the Malaria Initiative, which is administered through the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR).
The United Methodist community-based malaria initiative, first announced a year and a half ago, draws on the strength of existing United Methodist churches, community-based groups, hospitals, and schools to educate on and eliminate the disease.
Carol Kreamer, like Dr. Thomas, is committed to the cause of fighting malaria. She has preached in churches and visited the offices of senators, including a meeting in Missouri Senator Jim Talent’s office.
“We met with an aide in Jim Talent’s office. It wasn’t until I told the story of Eziqual – how someday we’re going to lose him – Eziqual! An educated man who went to Africa University -- ‘Someday, we’re going to lose him. To lose him to something stupid like malaria’ – that the aide looked up from his work and heard the story,” said Kreamer.
Kreamer requested that all members of The United Methodist Church connection bring the issue of malaria’s on-going toll to their elected officials. “Let your members of Congress know that attacking this killer is a priority. Friends like Laurina Osseia are dying...and we cannot stop crying,” said Kreamer.
Because Kreamer has made so many friends in Mozambique, a child is named after her. Kreamer explained her worries about her namesake, “Twenty-five percent of the children in Mozambique will not reach age five. Carol’s one of five children. Will Carol survive?”
The death toll from malaria has a face and a name. One of whom is Laurina Osseia. The church continues to work to save all people of all religions in Mozambique and in all sub-Saharan African countries, the land most severely impacted by the scourge of malaria.
The United Methodist Church Community-Based Malaria Initiative is based on the notion that education, advocacy, and five-dollar bed nets can reduce the casualties of this weapon of mass destruction, malaria.
Date posted: Jul 27, 2006