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On the Road to Help End Malaria

By Jenny Andrews, Executive Director, Malaria Partners International 

 

After nearly two years of building friendships via Zoom meetings, at long last, I was able to meet – in person – with (l-r) Dr. Mwangala Muyendekwa, Morton M’gemezulu, Martha Lungu, and Modestine Kaoma. Although we didn’t know it because the aircraft was so large, we were all on the same Emirates flight from Lusaka. We traveled to Harare Zimbabwe to attend the District 9210 Conference where our aim was to continue to build advocates in the fight to end malaria.

The District Conference brought together Rotarians and Rotaractors from four countries, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and the northern half of Mozambique, and was attended by approximately 300 people. Malaria Partners Zambia Executive Director, Martha Lungu, was one of several featured speakers at the opening plenary session where she shared the important work being done through Partners for a Malaria-Free Zambia, Rotary’s first Programs of Scale recipient. This generated a tremendous amount of excitement among attendees about getting their clubs involved in malaria elimination. In Zimbabwe, Rotarians have already established trust within the government allowing them to form a legal entity similar to Malaria Partners Zambia.

One of the highlights of the DisCon was having Zimbabwean President Mnangagwa attend a gala dinner where he was made an honorary Rotarian. In his speech, he praised the work Rotarians are doing throughout the country in pursuit of Service Above Self. The event was covered in the Zimbabwe Herald and you can read more about his remarks here.

On Saturday, DisCon attendees participated in a Rotary Day of Service where we engaged in three different projects that included tree planting, a dedication of a bridge that Rotary helped rebuild, and a free clinic where people are able to access free testing and treatment at a local private hospital. The Rotary Club of Chitungwiza works with this hospital on a regular basis and specifically provides support for people living with albinism. The Rotaract club that they sponsor helped staff all of the booths set up for testing and treatment of a wide range of conditions.

As I get ready to depart for Zambia, where we will spend the next week visiting program sites for Partners for a Malaria-Free Zambia, I take with me growing confidence that the Rotarians of District 9210 are firmly committed to helping their countries reduce the burden of malaria with the goal of making malaria a distant memory for the citizens of their countries.

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