Lutheran effort contributes to decline in malaria deaths

ST. LOUIS—January 30, 2012—A recent report by the World Health Organization showed that a third fewer people in Africa are dying of malaria than in 2000 thanks to global campaigns like the Lutheran Malaria Initiative (LMI).

The World Malaria Report 2011 showed malaria mortality rates fell by more than 25 percent between 2000 and 2010.

The Lutheran Malaria Initiative, a partnership of Lutheran World Relief (LWR) and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), and made possible through 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.

When the LMI campaign began in 2010, a child died of malaria every 30 seconds. Today, that rate has decreased to one child every 60 seconds.

“By God’s gracious gift, malaria is ebbing,” said the Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, LCMS president. “We are so thankful for those who have given to the Lutheran Malaria Initiative, and thus, played a part in bringing the number of malaria deaths down. We are continuing the fight against this terrible disease and encourage Lutherans worldwide to join the effort to help bring hope and healing to our brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s time for us to put the pedal to the metal!”

Gracie Nshambiya, a kindergarten teacher in Tanzania, is one of those people reached by LMI prevention, treatment and education programs. 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 said. “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 said 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 said. “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.”

To learn more about LMI, visit


About The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), is a mission-oriented, Bible-based, confessional Christian denomination headquartered in St. Louis, Mo. Founded in 1847, the LCMS has more than 2.3 million baptized members in some 6,200 congregations and more than 9,000 pastors. Two seminaries and 10 colleges and universities operate under the auspices of the LCMS, and its congregations operate the largest Protestant parochial school system in America. The church broadcasts the saving message of Jesus Christ over KFUO Radio, and it has relationships and active mission work in 89 countries around the world. In the last five years, the LCMS has awarded more than $35 million through more than 900 domestic and international grants for emergency response and disaster relief. Today, the LCMS is in full doctrinal fellowship with 33 other confessional Lutheran church bodies worldwide and is a founding partner of Lutheran Services in America, a social ministry organization serving one in every 50 Americans. For more information, visit



Vicki Biggs
Director, Integrated Communications
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
314-996-1236 | 314-556-3829 (mobile)

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