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.
The economic and community impact as a result of malaria is a huge challenge for those areas that are in the grip of the disease's spread. It also happens to be a challenge that Rotary is well placed to organize around, especially in light of the accomplishments that Rotarians have had in making the world a better place as we fight to conquer polio. The Rotarian Malaria Partners project was formed to address the campaign to target and eliminate malaria from our global communities.
Today, the RMP is made up of a a group of Rotarians and leaders of non-government organizations who are committed to foment a broad international Rotarian campaign for global elimination of malaria. RMP and the BBRC believe that malaria can be combated through a comprehensive Rotarian campaign similar to Rotary’s successful Polio Plus campaign. We can do that by working with Rotarian groups around the world. We advocate within Rotary in order to gain broad international support from other districts and clubs, and for the support of the Rotary Foundation.
Bellevue Breakfast has been a long time supporter for the Rotarian Malaria Partners project. As a result of two BBRC members having a personal connection to Zambia, the club has been closely associated with RMP’s successful projects in this country. Our support has included close to $15,000 in direct funding and an in country visit to review the work on the ground. As a result of our directing funding efforts, we have seen the our contributions grow to more than $80,000 as a result of RMP's matching grants magic. This has enabled the BBRC to play a significant role in the Zambian projects, initiated to tackle the proactive malaria programs in the Copperbelt by supporting preventative measures such as insecticide spraying, nets for sleeping, and healthcare training for front-line care workers to name a few.
Our most recent contribution of $5,000 will support Phase Two of the Copperbelt Malaria Elimination project, a $6 million initiative. The RMP project will be supported in this effort by the the Gates Foundation who are committed to eliminating malaria as part of its mission. So, with all the matches, BBRC's $5,000 becomes $32,500 in project funds. That will train, equip and deploy 32 community health workers in their home villages, providing first line care to 16,000 people. The BBRC are thrilled to be a part of the RMP campaign, especially with the benefits the Copperbelt Elimination can deliver to the community. The people of the Copperbelt will see this in terms of their health and the improved economic outlook as the effects of malaria are stopped. Another wonderful example of how Rotary can make a difference through the actions of its members.