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Church group battles malaria

Awareness and prevention project is helping to save lives in remote areas in Borneo

Anti malaria campaign in Jakarta Anti malaria campaign in Jakarta
  • Edi V Petebang, Pontianak
  • Indonesia
  • June 2, 2011
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The Association of Voluntary Health Services of Indonesia (Perdhaki) is leading a project to battle malaria in remote and border areas of West Kalimantan.

Supported by The Global Fund and in cooperation with Pontianak archdiocese and Ketapang and Sintang dioceses, the Church organization is educating locals on the disease and has distributed free mosquito nets and medicines.

“The project is a Catholic Church initiative to create a physically and spiritually sound society,” Capuchin Father Yeremias Melis, head of the Pontianak diocesan social development commission, said recently.

The association’s local coordinator Kosmas Apolonaris said each diocese has established malaria-sub units in different parishes in a bid to provide better service to remote areas.

Perdhaki has 70 health care units in the Kalimantan and Sulawesi regions, of which 11 are in Pontianak archdiocese.

“Main activities include distribution of mosquito nets to families and pregnant women, medical checkups, awareness of prevention measures, and free drugs for infected people,” Apolonaris said.

Expectant mothers and infants are particularly at risk of catching the disease, he added.

The project, he said, is being carried out in two phases, namely over 2010-2011 and 2012-2014.

Between January-April this year, Perdhaki’s West Kalimantan chapter trained 80 staff, and distributed almost 60,000 nets.

"We hope people will use the nets, and we also hope they understand the danger posed by malaria and know about prevention measures,” he said.

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