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Government and Corporate Support Together Help Africans Battling Malaria, AIDS

McKesson Corp. Executives and Zambian Caregiver Speak with U.S. Leaders for

World Malaria Day World Vision urges U.S. Senate to pass Global AIDS, TB and Malaria Bill

WASHINGTON, April 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A volunteer nurse from Zambia and executives from the healthcare company McKesson Corp. spoke with lawmakers in Washington to emphasize the importance of joint efforts in the fight against malaria and AIDS, at meetings organized by the international humanitarian agency World Vision in recognition of World Malaria Day.

Ron Simpson, Vice President of Sales for McKesson's Medical-Surgical unit, and Lister Namutowe Chingangu, founder of a home-based caregiver organization in Lusaka, Zambia, emphasized the impact of public-private partnerships in responding to the global AIDS and malaria crises. They joined World Vision's global health policy advocates to urge continued U.S. support of lifesaving programs abroad.

"We have seen first-hand how the devastating effects of malaria, HIV and AIDS in developing nations and communities can be overcome when governments, corporations, communities and churches work together," said Joseph Mettimano, Vice President of Advocacy for World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization that works in almost 100 countries.

"When U.S. government support is matched with the help and funding of corporate partners such as McKesson and others to procure medications, health supplies, bed nets and other tools, the progress in fighting the spread of malaria and caring for the chronically ill picks up momentum and reaches many more lives."

Malaria kills a child every 30 seconds, and together, the AIDS pandemic and malaria cause more than 3 million deaths a year.

World Vision is calling on the U.S. Senate to act quickly to reauthorize the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) before it expires this year. The House has already approved the bill, known as the U.S. Global Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Reauthorization Act. It would extend and increase funding for PEPFAR and bolster the President's Malaria Initiative.

McKesson is World Vision's corporate partner in making Caregiver Kits, a first-of-its-kind program enabling Americans to supply essential, basic items to care for ill people in poor communities. Volunteers at American companies, churches and community groups have provided more than 100,000 of these kits to caregivers in Africa, Asia, and Latin America where World Vision has trained and equipped 59,000 home visitors to assist the chronically ill and care for orphans and vulnerable children.

"It is a privilege for us at McKesson to play a role in helping others around the globe," said Ron Simpson, vice president of sales for the Medical-Surgical division. "This helps caregivers assist patients with things we take for granted -- items like soap and Vaseline that are scarce or expensive in some parts of Africa."

Caregiver Lister Chingangu is one among more than 15,000 volunteers in a network of local aid groups implementing community-based care and outreach to orphans and vulnerable households in Zambia. She started the home-based care program, God Our Help Ministries, in Lusaka seven years ago. It has expanded five-fold in reach and now numbers 60 volunteers since gaining PEPFAR-funded support from a World Vision-led consortium called RAPIDS (Reaching HIV/AIDS Affected People with Integrated Development and Support).

"This has given us a great leap," Chingangu said. "The work has grown tremendously and has improved service delivery because our capacity has been built."

She represents the dedication of thousands of ordinary Zambians aided by U.S. funding, Zambian government support and partnerships with businesses and community programs.

Together, these elements are key to turning the tide against the twin epidemics of malaria and HIV and AIDS in Zambia and other African nations.

Mrs. Laura Bush on Thursday highlighted Mrs. Chingangu's work as an example of the importance of partnerships in saving lives from the toll of malaria.

"Last year ... participants in World Vision's RAPIDS program joined with PMI to deliver nearly half a million bed nets in Zambia," Mrs. Bush said at a briefing announcing the launch of the Congressional Malaria Caucus. "Today, with support from USAID and World Vision, her organization reaches more than 300 homes to care for patients suffering from AIDS and AIDS-related diseases. By distributing insecticide-treated bed nets to these households, God Our Help has been able to protect vulnerable individuals against malaria."

Started in 2004 with a PEPFAR grant, RAPIDS' funding has been redoubled by private partners and corporations' gifts-in-kind. The consortium includes World Vision, Africare, CARE International, Catholic Relief Services, Expanded Church Response and the Salvation Army.

U.S. citizens can advocate with their congressional representatives and the President to renew U.S. support through the following web site:

To schedule an interview or for more information, contact Geraldine Ryerson-Cruz at +1.202.572.6302 or

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. We serve all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information, please visit

SOURCE World Vision U.S.
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