Petition 81258

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Malaria, AIDS, and Clean Water (81258-GM-R9999)

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Malaria and AIDS ravage human populations throughout the world, while many others suffer from want of potable water. The increasingly global nature of the United Methodist Church causes our ties with our brothers and sisters in those areas most affected by disease and unsanitary or scarce water sources to grow ever tighter. We recognize with increasing clarity the moral imperative to aid those who struggle against malaria, AIDS, and water scarcity.  
Malaria disproportionately affects the world’s poor and young, killing nearly 800,000 children under the age of five in Africa alone every year. Although the United Methodist Church has implemented programs to decrease infection rates, the problem of malaria persists. Indoor residual spraying (IRS) of DDT presents a valuable tool against the mosquitoes that transmit malaria. The World Health Organization (WHO) claims that the “most generally effective”    means of controlling malaria continues to be the reduction of the mosquito population, and specifically that residual indoor spraying of DDT may lead to the “eradication” of the disease.  
Similarly, AIDS has tremendous worldwide impact. With 38 million currently infected, and 25 million of that number living in Africa, AIDS is the world’s fourth largest cause of death. While other means of preventing transmission may sometimes prove helpful, sexual abstinence and monogamy are the most reliable means of preventing HIV/AIDS infection.  
Finally, many people suffer from contaminated or insufficient water supplies. According to some reports, only 60% of the African population has access to a safe water supply. Some are forced to travel long distances to obtain water, while others do not drink enough or drink from contaminated sources. 1.8 million people die of diarrheal diseases every year, many of whom are children. 88% of diarrheal disease is attributable to a lack of hygiene and sanitary water supply. On-site water chlorination decreases incidences of diarrhea by as much as 35-39%.  
Water scarcity causes dehydration and illness from contaminants, but also renders agricultural endeavors unproductive, as irrigation is often insufficient. Thus, water scarcity severely hinders the ability of some Africans to grow their own food.  
In light of these facts, the growing awareness of disease, and the want of clean water, we call on the United Methodist Church, its boards, agencies, congregations, and individual members, to attend to the suffering of the afflicted.

We affirm the missional priority of using our time and financial resources for disease education and prevention, and towards infrastructure and treatment practices that will create wider access to a clean, safe, water supply.
      We support those in this denomination who have worked with the Nothing but Nets campaign, and the Community Based Malaria Control Program.
      With the World Health Organization, we affirm indoor residual spraying of DDT to reduce malaria transmission and fatalities.
      We affirm the work of the Global AIDS Fund in countering the AIDS epidemic.
      We applaud the success of church groups and nations that have used predominantly abstinence based programs, such as Uganda, to dramatically decrease their rate of HIV infection.
     John Schoneboom, Foreward to “Malaria in Africa” (Report from symposium at the 2001 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Francisco, USA, February 17, 2001). <> . (accessed October 18, 2007).
  Jason Gale and John Lauerman, “Newest Malaria Medicine May be Losing Potency in Asia, WHO Says,” Bloomberg, updated October 17, 2007. <> . (accessed October 18, 2007.)
  RTI International, “Environmental Assessment for IRS Using DDT for Malaria Control in Mozambique” (Paper written for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), February 5, 2007), 1. <> . (accessed October 18, 2007).  
  World Health Organization, “Vector Control,” World Health Organization, <>  . (accessed October 18, 2007.)  
  WHO (World Health Organization) Study Group on Malaria Vector Control and Personal Protection, “Malaria Vector Control and Personal Protection,” (Report given in Geneva, Switzerland, March 12-14, 2004), 3. <> . (accessed October 20, 2007).  
  The One Campaign. “Issues: HIV, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.” The One Campaign, <> . (accessed October 20, 2007).    
The One Campaign, “HIV, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Factsheet.” The One Campaign, <> . (accessed October 20, 2007).  
Paul Sitnam, “Providing Potable Water,” WorldVision, September 16 2002, <> . (accessed October 19, 2007).  
  World Health Organization (WHO), “Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Links to Health,” WHO, November 2004,  <> . (accessed October 19, 2007.)  
  Rand L. Stoneburner and Daniel Low-Beer. “Population-Level HIV Declines and Behavioral Risk Avoidance in Uganda,” Science vol. 304, no. 5671 (April 30, 2004), <>  . (accessed October 20, 2007).