ELCA Adds Liberia to Anti-Malaria Campaign, Seeks Funds

(UNICEF/Indrias Getachew)A child sits behind a mosquito net in a file photo.

Members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) raising funds to help contain malaria in Africa are seeking to add Liberia to the list of nations to receive aid.

ELCA announced Wednesday they are extending their observance of "World Malaria Day" from April 25 to May 1 with a goal of raising $200,000 to help end death from the preventable disease.

Malaria accounts for 30 percent of all deaths seen in hospitals, the Church said.

Wednesday's move is part of ELCA's broader campaign to work with Lutheran churches in Africa to contain the disease by 2015. The ELCA campaign goal is to raise $15 million to support efforts in 11 African countries through treatment, prevention and education.

The campaign has so far been able to work with churches in Angola, Mozambique, Zambia, and Zimbabwe to battle the disease but has yet to raise funds to help Liberia.

"Malaria is a medical injustice, and God calls us to fight against injustice," said Jessica Nipp, coordinator of the ELCA Malaria Campaign in a statement. "We are a church that rolls up our sleeves and gets to work. It's time for us to take the next step in the ELCA Malaria campaign."

Willie L.B. Roberts, a medical director at Curran Lutheran Hospital in Zorzor, Liberia, shared his perspective on the Lutheran mission in the country.

"Healing the sick is a mission that was started by Christ himself," he said. "We believe that what (Lutheran) missionaries brought to Liberia -- education, sharing the story of the love of God, and the healing of bodies -- is paramount" to the mission of Curran.

More information about the campaign is available at http://www.ELCA.org/malaria.

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