Students, neighborhood church fight malaria with nets

By Kiara Bennerman
NCCU Staff Writer
the Durham VOICE

Five students in an administrative leadership and ethics class in N.C. Central University’s masters of public administration program have a plan.

Mosquito nets like these are saving lives. (Photos courtesy of Harvey Wang for Episcopal Relief & Development)

The students are teaming up with nearby St. Titus Episcopal Church to help that church “increase community awareness about and generate funds from the public for NetsforLife.”

“I wanted to afford my students with the opportunity to engage in leadership roles as well as assist others 7,000 miles away,” said Donnell Scott, the course instructor and NCCU’s director of Public Administration.

NetsforLife is an organization that works with corporations, foundations and faith-based organizations to provide mosquito nets to malaria-infected countries located primarily in sub-Sahara Africa.

According to Shawn Pratt, a student in the course, the group will assist the church with a fundraising letter, the creation of public service announcements and developing a system for tracking donations.

Over 3 billion people live in malaria-infected regions.

The disease, which is spread by mosquito bites, kills nearly one million people every year, mostly children under the age of five.

According to NetsforLife, an umbrella organization that promotes and coordinates the distribution of mosquito nets in sub-Sahara Africa, the nets can cut malaria transmission by 50 percent and cut child deaths by 20 percent.

Research shows that the mosquito population drops by as much as 90 percent with widespread net use in a community.

Each net cost only $12 and can cover three children.

The nets are treated with long-lasting insecticides that repel and kill the infection-carrying mosquitoes.

According to Marguerite Peebles, director of the NetsforLife campaign at St. Titus, their effort is in response to a challenge issued by N.C. Episcopal Diocese Bishop Michael Curry to raise funds to purchase 40,000 nets.

“The NCCU students are very helpful, professional, and knowledgeable,” she said. “They have wonderful ideas that are leading to an increase in community awareness which will result in the advancement of St. Titus’s donations to the NetsforLife organization.”

For more information call St. Titus Episcopal Churchs at (919) 682-5504. The church is located at 400 Moline St.