A senior U.S official has said the Malaria Communities Program draws on the power of the faith-based and community partners serving on the frontlines to prevent and combat the disease. Jay Hein, Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives told VOA that engaging these groups that have local connections and have built trust greatly heightens the prospects for long-term success.
Hein was speaking after the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID) on Friday in Washington, announced the first Malaria Communities Program grants.
The organizations that received grants are Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, Lutheran World Relief, Episcopal Relief and Development, Minnesota International Health Volunteers, and Christian Social Sciences Commission.
The Malaria Communities Program (MCP) is a $30 million initiative created under the President's Malaria Initiative (PMI) to support the efforts of communities and indigenous organizations to combat malaria in Africa.
Jay Hein explained that the program specifically aims to identify organizations that are new to partnering with the U.S. Government. Organizations, he continued, that are uniquely positioned to work at the community level.
As to how the grants will work, the Director said "MCP grant recipients will operate within respective PMI country strategies, which have been developed in collaboration with each country's Ministry of Health and National Malaria Control Program, with in-country partners, and with other donor organizations working in-country".
The US. Malaria Initiative Coordinator Admiral Tim Ziemer said the partnership with local communities and faith-based organizations in addition to the good working relations and cooperation, the U.S has worked with international organizations such as the Global Fund to fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
" U.S government programs, particularly PMI, and the Global Fund (to fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria) have never enjoyed such a seamless collaboration", he said. The Malaria Communities Program is a component of President Bush's $1.2 billion Presidential Malaria Initiative (PMI) to work in 15 malaria endemic countries in Africa.