Meet Howard and Judy Johnson! For many years they have supported our work and the fight against malaria. Learn more about their commitment to support malaria elimination, stemming from a life-long friendship that kept the Johnson’s informed on the ongoing health challenges within Africa.
Why is malaria prevention and elimination work important to you?
While growing up in Kansas both of us developed a strong interest in problems facing Africa. When Howard was in junior high school, his family hosted a young man from Liberia, West Africa. That young man told Howard and his family of the health struggles his country was experiencing even back in the early 1950’s. This young man returned to Liberia after completing college in the US and later became Bishop of the Lutheran Church in Liberia. Fairly late in life, he was killed in the civil war in that country. He married a woman from Liberia who was a nurse in Phoebe Hospital in a fairly remote part of Liberia. We sent financial aid to this couple and their extended family over the years. Our lifelong friendship with this couple has kept us informed of the health challenges facing Africa and our more recent support of Malaria Partners International is clearly an extension of that concern.
What is it about Malaria Partners International and its approach that makes you optimistic about malaria prevention and elimination?
On the Malaria Partners International website one reads that over 90% of the deaths attributed to Malaria in the year 2020 occurred in Sub-Saharan Africa. By supporting projects with Rotary Clubs in the local communities of Sub-Saharan Africa, Malaria Partners International works directly with local people to face health challenges in a focused manner and one that has the greatest likelihood of success. Several people from these local communities in Africa visited our local Rotary club in Bellevue, Washington last year and they spoke about the positive results they were having while working with malaria prevention and elimination.
How would you encourage others to support Malaria Partners International?
Because we are older now, International travel is limited. Hence, our primary avenue for assistance is through financial support for the programs of Malaria Partners International; however, we would strongly urge Rotarians and others to visit directly the projects currently operating in countries such as Zambia, Uganda, and West Africa where the challenges of eliminating malaria are greatest.
This is especially important for younger Rotarians in this post-Covid time. There is no substitute for direct observation and interaction with the people in Africa who are leading the efforts to attack this deadly but treatable disease.