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Make no mistake, malaria is a killer. There are some 214 million cases each year and it is the most widely spread disease in sub-Saharan Africa.  It takes the lives of some 435,000 people each year and 90% of these deaths are in Africa.  It is, without a doubt, a devastating disease for the communities it impacts.

I was born in Kitwe, Zambia, which is the Copperbelt region and significant partner in the fight against malaria.  I also went to Springvale School, just outside of Marondera in Zimbabwe, and is a place of fond memories for me.  Even with the wonderful experiences of living in Zimbabwe, we grew up intimately aware of the threats of disease facing all of us at the time.

In my case it was a very real and personal experience, as my mother, who is a polio survivor, also suffered from malaria.  She was able to overcome both devasting diseases, although their impact is still felt by her to this day.  In my family we are committed to stopping these dreadful diseases because we understand the heart-wrenching pain they extract from its sufferers.

The work of Malaria Partners Zimbabwe is a force for good in our fight against malaria. Your campaign is based on the imagination of Rotarians who came together with a simple idea to fight malaria though the Rotarian Malaria Partnership.  These imaginative individuals came together for good and were able to transform their ideas into action by collaborating with Rotary International, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and World Vision to secure the first program of scale to combat malaria in the Zambian Copperbelt.  It is also a source of tremendous pride that my own Rotary club (Bellevue Breakfast) were generous contributors to this effort.

In Zimbabwe, this MPIZim can deliver significant economic and community impact by tackling the challenge to stop the disease’s spread across the Mudzi district.  It also happens to be a challenge, where a partnership with Rotary makes good sense, especially considering the accomplishments that Rotarians have had in making the world a better place as we fight to conquer polio.  Let us focus on the possibility of the malaria campaign having the same tremendous impact in conquering the disease.

 

 

 

 

Kaj Pedersen
5030 District Governor 2023-24

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