Rotary International’s long-standing partnership with the Gates Foundation in the worldwide effort to end polio is well known. But today, Rotarian Malaria Partners (RMP), which includes clubs in the Seattle area, as well as in Uganda and Zambia, is partnering with the Gates Foundation to battle malaria in Uganda, Zambia, and other countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
Nathan Perkins, a resident of Camden and a senior consultant for Global Health Visions, supports this partnership between the Gates Foundation and RMP. Perkins briefed the Camden Rotary Club this week about this effort, which is having a dramatic positive impact on communities in Zambia and Uganda, according to Rotary, in a news release. RMP officially launched about two years ago and has since enlisted support through a widening Rotary network – and from the Gates Foundation through a matching grant that leverages Rotary contributions supporting RMP’s malaria program efforts overseas.
Among its efforts, RMP has been raising awareness about the issue among North American and European Rotary clubs. RMP has also deployed contributions from Rotarians and others to facilitate the training and equipping of community health workers in malaria-endemic countries. These measures are helping to increase access to screening, diagnostic, and referral services for affected communities, thereby reducing the risk of death and the overall burden of the disease.
“The impact of COVID on communities and health systems threatens to rewind about twenty years of progress against malaria,” said Perkins, after noting a dramatic decrease in deaths from malaria since 2000. “We still have a long way to go, but it’s clear that this approach is working, and community engagement is a key component where Rotary is making an outsized contribution. The role of community health workers is critically important.”
Perkins observed that the work of organizations like RMP demonstrates how individual clubs or groups of clubs can provide proof points for new ideas, which can galvanize further support among Rotary leadership.
“I’m very impressed with Rotarians,” he added. “They play a key role not only in fundraising and mobilizing resources but also in actual engagement on the ground in endemic countries.”