LUSAKA, Zambia (March 9, 2021) — To help end a leading cause of illness and death in the southern African country of Zambia, a Rotary club-led initiative aims to save and improve lives by empowering community health workers to test, diagnose and treat malaria.
Malaria, a preventable disease caused by a parasite spread through the bites of infected mosquitoes, disproportionately affects children under the age of five and pregnant women in rural populations.
To help end malaria in Zambia, The Rotary Foundation, World Vision USA and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will each contribute $2 million for the Rotary-led Partners for a Malaria-Free Zambia program. This $6 million program will add 2,500 community health workers to the national health system in Zambia, allowing for effective malaria diagnosis and treatment for more than 1.3 million people in ten of the most highly affected districts in Central and Muchinga provinces.
"By empowering community health workers, more people in areas with little to no access to health care will now be reached by trusted members of their communities," said Bill Feldt, member of the Rotary Club of Federal Way in Washington, USA, who spearheaded the program. "This proven health care delivery model is effective and financially sustainable, and will bring lasting protection by reducing and eliminating this disease at the local level."
Partners for a Malaria-Free Zambia takes Rotary members' commitment to eliminate malaria to the next level by building a longer-term, multi-stakeholder partnership on the ground in Zambia with the National Malaria Elimination Centre, provincial health leadership, PATH MACEPA and World Vision Zambia. Martha Lungu, executive director for Malaria Partners Zambia, an affiliate of Malaria Partners International, and member of the Rotary Club of Ndola (Zambia) said, "Every day I witness firsthand the effects of malaria. This program demonstrates that Rotary members are true partners in our communities and are focused on supporting community health workers to help loosen the grip malaria has on the Zambian people."
Partners for a Malaria-Free Zambia is the first awardee for Rotary's Programs of Scale grant. In an annual competitive grant process, The Rotary Foundation, Rotary's philanthropic arm, will award $2 million to an evidence-based program that aligns with one of Rotary's causes and has the capability for scaling-up to help more people. The programs are sponsored by Rotary members in collaboration with local communities and partner organizations.
Rotary and Partner Quotes
"Rotary's Programs of Scale is encouraging our members to think big and to work with other organizations to find comprehensive solutions to large-scale issues," said K.R. "Ravi" Ravindran, Trustee Chair of The Rotary Foundation. "The power of Rotary is greatly magnified when we partner with like-minded organizations. As we've learned from our global effort to eradicate polio, our impact on communities is further augmented when compatible partners contribute their own specialized skills, talents and finances to support our efforts."
"Rotary members bring unparalleled energy and dedication to global health challenges. Their efforts have brought polio eradication within reach, and I am confident they will do the same in the fight against malaria," said Philip Welkhoff, Director of the Malaria Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "This project complements and builds upon the leadership of the Government of Zambia in working to eliminate malaria from the country. We are thrilled to expand on our longstanding partnerships with Rotary and World Vision to advance progress in hard-to-reach communities and to realize the goal of ending malaria for good."
"We are pleased to partner with both The Rotary Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on this important work to help end malaria in Zambia," said Edgar Sandoval Sr., president and CEO of World Vision U.S. "When we bring impact-focused organizations together, we can do more to help the world's most vulnerable reach their potential."
About Rotary: Rotary brings together a global network of volunteer leaders dedicated to tackling the world's most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.2 million members of more than 36,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Their work improves lives at both the local and international levels, from helping those in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. Through Rotary's disease treatment and prevention programs, members educate and equip communities to stop the spread of life-threatening diseases like polio, HIV/AIDS, and malaria. For more information, visit Rotary.org.
About World Vision: World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization conducting relief, development, and advocacy activities in its work with children, families, and their communities in nearly 100 countries to help them reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. For more information, please visit www.WorldVision.org/media-center/ or on Twitter @WorldVisionUSA.
About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people's health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people---especially those with the fewest resources---have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Mark Suzman, under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.