(L to R) Canon John Okoli, Mayor Martin Reilly, Bishop Ken Good & Rosamund Bennett(CEO Christian Aid Ireland)
Mayor Martin Reilly has welcomed Bishop Ken Good and two visitors from Nigeria to The Guildhall in Derry / Londonderry. The visit took place on 17th October, on The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Rev Canon John Okoli and Mrs Nanlop Ogbureke, both from Nigeria, are visiting the diocese of Derry and Raphoe to promote the Nets Work Project.
Nets Work is a year-long diocesan project to raise enough funds to save up to 40,000 lives. It has inspired everything from Fashion Shows, 5-Aside Football Tournaments to Pantomimes – all part of the effort to raise enough funds to buy 20,000 mosquito nets.
Mosquito nets are a surprisingly effective weapon in the fight against malaria. The mosquito (the female – is the one that passes malaria and is silent, unlike the male) normally bites between 10pm and 5am. When people sleep under mosquito nets it protects them during the most vulnerable time of the day.
In one area where a project to distribute mosquito nets took place the death rate from malaria fell by 67%. The World Health Organisation estimates that there were 216 million cases of malaria in 2010 resulting in 655,000 deaths. This is equivalent to roughly 2000 deaths every day.
A net costs around £5 / €6 but for a family who spend more than 90% of their income on food this is an expense they cannot afford. Sadly, in many rural communities having a fever is just a way of life so this project also educates communities on how that fever is caused and how it can be prevented.
Bishop Ken Good said “ I am very excited that Derry and Raphoe has identified a life-saving project in Nigeria – providing thousands of mosquito nets for people who can’t afford them”. A short promotional video for Nets Workwas shown at the synod and can be seen on the diocesan website www.derryandraphoe.org
Rev Canon John Okoli is Programme Manager of ADONHADC (Anglican Diocese of Nnewi Health and Community Development Centre). During his visit to the diocese he will speak at the Diocesan Synod. He lives and works in the Anambra State in Nigeria and since 2008, has been working on projects which focus on children and their vulnerability to both malaria and HIV.
Mrs Nanlop Ogbureke works for Christian Aid Nigeria. She has been monitoring the effectiveness of the Nets programme since it’s inception and will speak to a range of groups during her stay.