Accra, Ghana: Representatives of in-country health boards charged with overseeing governance of malaria programs throughout Africa gathered last week in Accra, Ghana for the Pan-Africa Summit. The participants, made up of doctors, community health workers, educators and malaria program coordinators received follow-up training in effective program planning, financial management, and best practices for monitoring and evaluation.
The five-day meeting was sponsored by Imagine No Malaria and hosted by the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR).
The UMCOR health board strategy was established in 2009 as a way to oversee planning and execution, as well as effectively evaluate malaria programs in each of the countries where there is a United Methodist presence. These boards submit grant applications to secure funding from UMCOR and other organizations.
“From the onset of this campaign, we’ve been working to inspire sustainability and local program ownership,” said Shannon Trilli, Director of Global Health Initiatives for UMCOR. “The Pan-Africa Summit gives us an opportunity to follow-up where those grants have been awarded and make sure the health boards have the support and training they need in budgeting, communication and program planning to maximize their effectiveness and ultimately save lives.”
African annual conference health board members are selected based on their skills in finance and accounting, legal and regulatory, medical, community, technology, hospital or clinic management grant writing and represent church interests. They oversee hospitals, clinics and posts, as well as programs such as malaria, nutrition, HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health care, community based primary health care, and other diseases of poverty.
“The people attending this conference are doing work that is critical to saving lives. We hope this conference will empower them to open new doors and make it easier for them to accomplish their work,” said the Rev. Larry Hollon, chief executive of United Methodist Communications.
Hollon noted that in addition to United Methodist Communications and UMCOR, the health boards will be working closely with United Methodist bishops, conference leadership, national and local governments, the General Board of Global Ministries, ecumenical partners and other non-governmental organizations.
Countries that are represented at the Pan-Africa Summit include Angola (west), Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe and Malawi. Each country is encouraged to customize their anti-malaria efforts to meet the needs of their own people.