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Lutheran Malaria Initiative Contributes to Global Decline
in Malaria Deaths

Baltimore, January 13, 2012 — The World Health Organization recently released its World Malaria Report 2011, showing that the concerted global effort in recent years to combat malaria, including campaigns like the Lutheran Malaria Initiative (LMI), means that a third fewer people in Africa are dying of malaria now than in 2000.

“This is incredible progress,” said John Nunes, president and CEO of Lutheran World Relief. “When we started the LMI campaign, a child was dying of malaria every 30 seconds. Then we learned that rate had dropped to one child every 45 seconds. These new figures mean that a child in sub-Saharan Africa now dies every 60 seconds. That is still too many children dying from a disease that is completely preventable and treatable, but the remarkable progress in such a short period of time shows me that, working together, we really can end malaria deaths by 2015.”

The Lutheran Malaria Initiative, a partnership of Lutheran World Relief (LWR) and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), and made possible with support from the United Nations Foundation, seeks to raise $45 million to combat malaria in sub-Saharan Africa, the region most affected by this devastating disease. With programs currently in Mali, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, LMI is reaching 2.4 million people with messages about prevention and treatment.

Gracie Nshambiya, a kindergarten teacher in Tanzania

Jonathan Ernst for Lutheran World Relief

Gracie Nshambiya, a kindergarten teacher in Tanzania, is one of those people. A mother who lost a child to malaria, she knows all too well the pain of this devastating disease.

"My child was sick, and it was diagnosed as malaria," she says. "I had some advice from the dispensary, but I didn't follow what I was told. And just like that, he was gone."

Ever since, her children have slept under bed nets – a key tool in preventing malaria infection, and something she hadn't used before. Gracie says she learned about using bed nets from her pastor, who in turn had been trained as a malaria educator through an LMI program.

Gracie realized that the best way to fight malaria is with knowledge, so she set out to make herself a malaria educator, and a community organizer of sorts. 

"Since my child died, I was very eager to use the net,” she shared. “And from that time, I have tried to insist with other people in my village that they should use a net too. They saw what happened to my child."

About Lutheran World Relief (LWR):
Lutheran World Relief works to improve the lives of smallholder farmers and people experiencing poverty in Africa, Asia and Latin America, both in times of emergencies and for the long term. With the financial support of US Lutherans and other donors, LWR strengthens communities through programs in agriculture, climate, and emergency support. LWR works with partners, supporters and technical assistance providers to achieve lasting results. For more information, visit

Lutheran World Relief is a ministry of U.S. Lutherans, serving communities living in poverty overseas.

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