What are you doing for World Malaria Day? Read what Rev. Alfred Chana tells us about Malaria As a Disease of Poverty.
Malaria As a Disease of Poverty
Many thanks to the Rev. Alfred Chana, Senior Pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zambia, for providing this very informative interview about malaria and its effect on household economics.
Senior Pastor Alfred Chana of the Evangelical Lutheran Chruch in Zambia speaks about malaria as Malaria Program Coordinator Abel Makungwe looks on. (Photo: Matt Jeppsen)
When malaria attacks a person, be it a child, a mother, or the father, the whole household is affected. The economic level of that household goes down.
Parents have to find money to take that child to the clinic, to pay for the medication, probably to pay for transport, to pay for food if the child is admitted to the hospital–so it becomes so costly, you see? The level of the economic power in the household tends to go down because of malaria.
Also, once they get sick, malaria disrupts the education of school-going children. You’ll find that the child, instead of attending classes, is ill. And the child will lose a lot in the class. By the time he or she recovers and can go back to class, they find that their classmates have already gone a long way. And it takes time–it takes the child time to catch up with what others have done.
Not only that, malaria also drains the food security. Because as you may be aware, 70% of the population of Zambia lives in rural areas. And that means that people scratch their livelihood out of agriculture. And if they fall ill, that means they don’t go to work, and they lose out. After many years of this pattern, a family is food insecure. And that means now, there won’t be good nourishment.
So malnutrition creeps in because of malaria.
Poverty creeps in because of malaria.
Food insecurity creeps in because of malaria.
So once malaria is reduced to a level that would allow people to continue their activities, that means that the level of poverty will go down, and children will do well in their education at school. And food security will be ok.
Income-generating projects such as agricultural collectives help households to afford good medical care and malaria prevention. (Photo: Matt Jeppsen)
Those are some of the dynamics that malaria as a disease creates in families here in Zambia, which is why the malaria program, creatively, has come up with an activity that we are calling “livelihood.” This activity will provide economic power to the families. That way, you are empowering the families so that, even when they are attacked by malaria, they can stand the pressure of poverty, food insecurity, and the like. So these are some of the issues that are very critical.
I would like to appreciate what the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is doing. Because it is from the ELCA that we are receiving these resources which we are utilizing to promote the Lutheran Malaria Program in the communities and the church. And it is my appeal to the ELCA church membership to take hold of this program and see how far we can go in helping out the recipients and addressing the issue of malaria in our church and our community.
These “Lutheran” piglets represent the hope of a malaria-free future for their owners, who can now afford malaria prevention supplies and good medical treatment, thanks to their newly-stabilized household income. (Photo: Abel Makungwe)
Posted From ELCA Malaria Campaign, Make Malaria History