Faith-based approach in eliminating malaria
Despite malaria remaining a major disease, infecting more than 200 million people and killing nearly 500,000 a year, such great progress was made against it that the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2015 set a global target for eliminating the illness in nearly three dozen countries by 2030.
“We don’t go there to condemn a traditional healer, because as soon as you do that, you create a gap,” said Anglican Bishop David Njovu of Zambia (center) in describing his approach, which includes education and acknowledging the role of faith. Panelists Professor Dyann Wirth and Bishop André Soares are also pictured.
Now, however, progress has stalled. The 216 million cases of malaria reported in 2016 were 5 million more than the cases reported in 2015, according to WHO.
Solving this problem, said Dyann Wirth, Richard Pearson Strong Professor of Infectious Diseases at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, requires the collaboration of different disciplines and different groups with deep expertise in certain areas.
In recognition of this, Harvard Divinity School and the Harvard T.H. Chan School together hosted a panel of Anglican bishops from Africa on Thursday to discuss the role of faith and communities in working to end malaria and save lives. Wirth served as a moderator, along with HDS Professor of African Religious Traditions Jacob Olupona.