Saturday, October 13, 2007

All About the Nets

We moved the Mission Office across town a few months ago, as you know. Our offices are now housed by the Fobang Foundation, a non-profit public health organization run by our friend Dr. Wilfred Mbacham.

One of the main activities at Fobang is the production of mosquito nets. Dr. Mbacham's original idea was to create a small business opportunity for persons living with HIV/AIDS. Thus, he made sure to build a large room for net production, which can then be sold to organizations looking to distribute nets around Cameroon.

And nets are now in production! I snapped a few shots of the work team treating the nets with insecticide.

The Mission has already placed an order for 250 nets in advance of a VIM team coming in December.

Speaking of nets, I've received a number of questions about our relation to the Nothing But Nets program which is currently being popularized by the United Methodist Church and National Basketball Association. In the States this summer, for example, we were asked many times whether we received nets from funds raised by Nothing But Nets.

And the answer is, "No." Monies raised by Nothing But Nets is channeled through government health ministries, and given specifically to approved health clinics. Most commonly, nets are distributed to children when they receive other required and vital vaccinations.

I am hoping that Dr. Mbacham's organization will soon be on the list of approved Cameroonian net producers, but that's another issue.

However, the Mission does work in malaria issues through the General Board of Global Ministries' Community Based Malaria Initiative, started in April 2006, and directed by Dr. Cherian Thomas. It was this initiative which supported the Mission's HIV/AIDS and Malaria Prevention Health Team, which has made four village trips around the country in the last two years. Monies given to this program do come specifically to countries like Cameroon to purchase mosquito nets.

We are in full support of both Nothing But Nets and the GBGM Community Based Malaria Initiative, and hope that you feel prompted to give to both programs. The truth is that malaria is a preventable disease, and nets are one of the simplest ways (at this moment in time) to go about the fight.