Archives for posts with tag: Nothing But Nets

Dikembe Mutombo is a big man. Not just in physical statue but in reputation and influence. He is a retired professional basketball player that stands 7 feet 2 inches tall. But his humanitarian efforts cause him to stand much taller.

Mutombo wears a size 22 shoe but he hMutombo 1as left much larger footprints through his determined efforts to provide health care for the people of his native  Democratic republic of Congo.

Dikembe played 18 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA). He won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award four times and was an eight-time NBA All Star. He is commonly called the one of  the greatest shot blockers of all time, surpassed in the NBA only by Hakeem Olajuwon. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this year.

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If you don’t know Dikembe Mutombo, you don’t know much about professional basketball in the United States. If you know him, you are well aware that his trademark is a “finger wag” after blocking a shot. Today that finger wag is used in the face of life threatening diseases like malaria.

Outside basketball Mutombo has become known for his humanitarian work. He paid for uniforms and expenses for the Congo women’s basketball team during the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta. He is a spokesman for the international relief agency, CARE, and a long time supporter of Special Olympics.

Mutombo contributed $15 million to fulfill a lifelong dream in 2007 by opening the doors to the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital and Research Center. This is the first hospital that has been built in the capitol city of Democratic Republic of Congo. The 300-bed hospital will provide health care to people in Kinshasa where Mutombo was born. The hospital was named BiambaMarieMutomboHospital, for his late mother, who died of a stroke in 1997 at age 64.

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Mutombo continues to work to eradicate childhood diseases like malaria that prevent one in five children in the sub-Sahara Africa from reaching age 5.

Last Thursday night Mutombo attended a gathering of folks in downtown Atlanta who are engaged in the fight to eradicate malaria. I stood beside a giant- not because of his physical statue but because of his passion to improve the lives of others.

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“It is a lesson of life,” Mutombo said. “We all are here for a purpose. My purpose is to make a difference to society, not just by being a good human being, but to contribute to lives. I’m changing lives and the living condition of my people.”

Jesus said he came so that people could live life to the fullest (John 10:10 CEB). “Abundant life” (KJV). The Message translates those words to indicate that his purpose was to provide “real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.”

I think that includes quality of life during our time on Earth as well as eternal life in the hereafter and I am glad for people like Mutombo who give themselves as co-workers with Christ to that end.

Jamie Jenkins

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Approximately 4 million babies were born in the United States last year. if we knew that in the next five years 800,000 of them would die from one disease, we would stop at nothing until we found the solution to that problem.

The situation described above is the kind of scenario faced by parents in sub-Sahara Africa. 1 of every 5 children born in that part of the world will die before they are five years old. A child dies every 60 seconds from the killer disease of malaria. That is over 1400 children every day who lose their lives to a disease that was virtually eliminated in the United States over 60 years ago- malaria. The World Health Organization estimates that 650,000 people will die this year from malaria, most of them children under the age of five and pregnant women.

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The good news: we know how to stop death and suffering from malaria and great progress has been made. Malaria is 100% preventable and 100% treatable. In 2006 a child died every 30 seconds. That death rate has been cut in half in the past 8 years through the efforts of many people and organizations.

In 2006 the United Methodist Church was invited to partner with several other groups with Nothing But Nets, a highly successful program that distributed insecticide treated bed nets to protect people from being infected with malaria. But more was needed.

INM_logo_(horizontal)So in 2008, building on the success of Nothing But Nets, the United Methodist Church established a more comprehensive approach to fighting malaria: Imagine No Malaria. It continues the important task of net distribution and builds on it, adding treatment, education, and communication to bring about a sustainable victory over malaria in this generation. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation generously underwrites all administrative costs of the effort so every dollar given goes directly to this ministry.

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Since 2010 Imagine No Malaria has distributed more than 2.3 million bed nets to protect a family while they sleep at night when the mosquitoes are most active. 11,600 volunteer community health workers have been recruited and trained to deliver those nets and to teach people how to properly use them and to instruct them on other preventive measures.

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Imagine No Malaria also provides affordable and accessible medications to the more than 300 United Methodist hospitals and clinics in 16 countries of sub-Sahara Africa. 13 national health boards have been established to oversee the work and to seek additional funding sources.

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United Methodists across the country have contributed $65 million toward Imagine No Malaria’s goal of $75 million by next year. Now we have an opportunity to join them to reach the goal and save millions of lives.

 

Look what $10 can do through Imagine No Malaria::

  • deliver an insecticide treated bed net to protect a family while they sleep to protect them and to kill mosquitos
  • teach the recipient how to use it properly
  • teach the symptoms of malaria and other means to prevent the disease
  • provide early diagnostic kits as well as accessible and affordable medications

Only $10 to save a life. $100 saves 10 lives. $1000 saves 100 lives.

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To donate:

  • Text MALARIA NGC to 27722 (be sure to leave a space before NGC) and $10 will automatically be donated.
  • Send a check for any amount to the North Georgia Conference, 4511 Jones Bridge Circle, Peachtree Corners, GA 30092 and designate it for Imagine No Malaria.

You can learn more about this effort to eliminate death and suffering from malaria at

http://www.imaginenomalaria.org or http://www.facebook.com/NGCimaginenomalaria or

http://www.facebook.com/imaginenomalaria

We can do more than imagine no malaria. Together we can make it a reality.

Jamie Jenkins