Starting tomorrow, more than one million life-saving bed nets will begin to be distributed in Côte d’Ivoire as a part of a national integrated health campaign. And here in Dabou, just 40km west of Abidjan, the anticipation is high!
I spent the day on Sunday with the United Methodist Church in Dabou, where more than one thousand Ivoirian United Methodists greeted Bishop Janice Huie and the delegation from the Texas Annual Conference. Partnership was a recurring theme as local and international partners were recognized for their important roles in supporting the country’s efforts to undertake a national health campaign to provide the children in Côte d’Ivoire with needed health interventions, including measles vaccines and insecticide-treated bed nets.
We spent the morning singing and sharing and singing some more; so much so that the afternoon rains that pounded us in the midst of lunch could not even dampen the mood. Rather, we all squeezed in to our gracious host’s home and sat together, talking and singing some more.
But the rains bring with them an important reminder that the insecticide-treated bed nets are critical, for with the rains comes standing water which provide breeding grounds for the malaria-carrying anopheles mosquitoes. Malaria rates are generally on the rise during the rainy season – and here in Côte d’Ivoire we are in the middle of the short rainy season which runs from October to November.
But beginning Tuesday, one million insecticide-treated nets will begin to be distributed to children to help prevent the spread of malaria in Côte d’Ivoire. And thus, the singing continued in the rain today, for we knew that together we were going to help save lives in Côte d’Ivoire. And none too soon.