The Usa River Lutheran Parish in Tanzania serves more than 2,500 members who worship in three congregations. The church is deeply committed to reaching out to those most in need, and founded the Child Survival Program to serve mothers and children at risk due to extreme poverty. The program currently serves 40 mothers and their children under the age of three. They are provided food and healthcare, and the mothers are trained in entrepreneurial skills to help them earn an income.
The mothers are also taught how to protect their families from malaria, through support from Lutheran World Relief and the Lutheran Malaria Initiative. The area around Usa River is known for its rice production. Rice fields with standing water lead to a high population of mosquitoes which, in turn, leads to a high prevalence of malaria.
Tausi Juma and her infant daughter, Nurudi, are served by the Child Survival Program. Tausi learned about proper use of a bed net, and the importance of consistent use. Every night she and her children sleep safely under the net in their one-room home. Tausi is also aware of the symptoms to watch for in case any of them should contract malaria. If symptoms arise, they are able to access healthcare through the Child Survival Program.
The efforts of the Child Survival Program, combined with the parish pastors’ other activities to educate the community about preventing malaria, are paying off. The 40 children in the program are healthy, and the parish has not lost a single member to malaria in more than two years.
“We appreciate that LMI has had a positive impact for the congregations,” says Pastor Emmanuel Majola, the head pastor at Usa River Lutheran Parish. “Everybody in our community is aware of the prevention and control of malaria.”