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By: Emile Dawisha

April 2020: Campaign Quarterly

April 28, 2020
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Welcome to the Campaign Quarterly Newsletter, a snapshot of our work at Nothing But Nets and the global movement to end malaria for good!

 In this issue: A young doctor’s fight to treat and contain malaria in a Congolese refugee camp, a recap of the NBN20 Leadership Summit, and a few ways you can #StepUpTheFight this month in commemoration of World Malaria Day.

Meet Dr. Nelly Sangwa

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed a heavy burden on health workers around the world, particularly those working in communities gripped by other health crises, such as malaria.

Dr. Nelly Sangwa works at the Inke refugee camp in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where malaria is the main cause of morbidity; “especially for young children,” she says. Dr. Sangwa gives approximately 550 consultations per week, and a large portion are malaria cases.

There are several reasons for the high number of malaria cases in Inke; one having to do with the climate and another being the challenge of maintaining high hygienic standards in a refugee camp. “Inke camp is in an Equatorial zone where it rains a lot,” explains the Dr. Sangwa. “There is therefore a lot of grass and the camp is very vast. Apart from this, there is also the issue of managing domestic waste. There should be a garbage-collecting system to do this, which unfortunately isn’t the case here.”

Since children are disproportionately affected by malaria, the health center prioritizes making sure parents know how to recognize symptoms and how to act. “People have the habit of keeping their children at home even when they have fever,” says the doctor. “They just wait and see for the first few days. We are really working for the community to understand that it is extremely important that as soon as children get a fever, they need to be brought to the health center immediately.”

Since 2017, when mosquito nets were distributed to the whole camp, the percentage of malaria cases has dropped from 31% to 21%. “We have many patients who complain about not having mosquito nets,” says Dr. Sangwa. “However, we are somewhat powerless in this situation, as our current stocks only enable us to prioritize pregnant women and children under 5 who are more exposed. If it would be possible to receive nets again, like we did in 2017, this would really help us in 2019 to keep up our efforts.”

Nothing But Nets is replenishing Inke camp’s stock of bed nets, while also providing diagnostics and treatments, through its partnership with UNHCR. Inke is one of four camps along the DRC’s border with the Central African Republic that Nothing But Nets is supporting in 2019 and 2020.

You can support Nothing But Nets work in the DRC by donating to our World Malaria Day campaign, which runs now through Thursday. All gifts made to this campaign will be double matched by the Benito and Frances C. Gaguine Foundation. To donate, click here

NBN20 Summit Recap

The Nothing But Nets seventh annual Leadership Summit (March 8-10 in Washington DC) brought together a highly diverse group of 150 malaria champions that included high school students from West Virginia, malaria survivors from the Democratic Republic of Congo, vector-borne disease researchers from Florida, and members of the Haitian diaspora.

The NBN20 Summit took place in the days before COVID-19 caused widespread event cancellations in the United States; and indeed we understood that some of our champions would opt to stay home. Nevertheless, over 75% of those who registered for the event still made the trip – a true testament to the passion and commitment of our champions!

Sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Vestergaard, and Mosquito Joe, the NBN20 Summit gave our champions an opportunity to engage deeper in the fight against malaria and learn how to make an impact in their community. Some of the workshops and sessions included: how malaria is related to other global goals such as gender, education, climate and economic growth; the road to malaria eradication with a focus on opportunities but also challenges such as insecticide resistance and domestic resource mobilization; and updates from the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), the Global Fund, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, the UN Refugee Agency, and other partners.

After two days of trainings and leadership-building, our champions took to Capitol Hill for the Summit’s annual Advocacy Day. Attendees held over 150 meetings with their members of Congress and their offices, emphasizing the critical importance of US-supported malaria programs through PMI and the Global Fund. These programs receive bipartisan support in both the House and Senate, thanks in large part to the relentless advocacy of our champions.

In the lead-up to World Malaria Day (April 25), our champions continue to advocate and raise awareness during the COVID-19 crisis. Many have reached out to their members of Congress via phone or social media, underscoring how – more than ever – we cannot lose momentum against malaria as the world fights COVID-19. Other champions have organized World Malaria Day fundraisers via Facebook and other platforms.

When it comes to the fight to end malaria, our champions know that we can’t take our foot off the gas pedal. They will continue to raise awareness, funds, and their voices throughout the year. We’re so grateful to have such a committed coalition of champions. If you’re interested in joining this grassroots movement to end malaria for good, click here

#StepUpTheFight for World Malaria Day!

Hundreds of Nothing But Nets supporters took action this World Malaria Day. If you were one of them, we truly thank you for your commitment to our mission. Our dedicated supporters brought us SO close to reaching our goal. There’s still time to help us get to 100k by the end of the month! Here are a few ways you can get involved:

Donate: DOUBLE MATCH ALERT! All gifts made now through the end of the month will be double matched ($1 donated = $2 raised!), thanks to our generous matching donor: The Benito and Frances C. Gaguine Foundation.

Proceeds benefit our current work in refugee settlements across the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which is home to 4.5 million displaced persons. Malaria is the principal cause of death in the DRC, accounting for more than 40% of all outpatient visits. With your help, we will provide bed nets, treatments, and diagnostics that will protect over 300,000 displaced people from malaria.

Additionally, your gift will support the creation of revised guidelines for healthcare workers on the frontlines, helping them adapt their approach to malaria control during the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to make double the impact

Start your own fundraiser: We’re guessing your friends are as cool, compassionate, and generous as you are. If so, consider launching a World Malaria Day Facebook fundraiser! Better yet, you can create your own personal fundraising page through our Nothing But Nets website; create your own fundraising campaign here.

If you’d like some tips on how to create a successful fundraiser, check out our World Malaria Day toolkit.

Get Social: Spread the word on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram about our World Malaria Day campaign, using the hashtag #StepUpTheFight. Check out our toolkit for sample social media posts.

We hope you will #StepUpTheFight this week and support our World Malaria Day campaign. Your continued support is more important than ever, at a time when years of progress against malaria is being threatened by COVID-19. We can’t afford to lose momentum towards the ultimate goal of wiping out this deadly disease worldwide within this generation.

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