March 24, 2021

WILLS POINT, TX – Gospel for Asia (GFA World) founded by K.P. Yohannan, whose heart to love and help the poor has inspired numerous charities like Gospel for Asia Canada, to serve the deprived and downcast worldwide, issued this Special Report update on the worsening hardships of leprosy patients amid the COVID 19 pandemic.

COVID-19 Causes Setbacks for Existing Leprosy Patients

As authorities struggled to know how best to respond to the COVID-19 crisis in the first part of 2020, it was all too common to find those who contracted the virus likened to “lepers”—a fear-mongering and dehumanizing reference to those with leprosy (Hansen’s Disease).

For example, when Italy began looking to reopen after a significant lockdown prompted by a high coronavirus death toll, the country’s foreign minister, Luigi Di Maio, commented, “If anyone thinks they can treat us like a leper colony, then they should know that we will not stand for it.”

Photo by Presidenza della Repubblica

In Australia, former television presenter Sam Newman commented that people in Melbourne, which introduced some of the toughest COVID-19 restrictions in the country, were “living in a leper colony.”

Meanwhile, in England, when television doctor Hilary Jones was asked whether it was safe to visit Birmingham, a city where cases had spiked, he answered “‘it’s not like a leper colony or anything.”

While such comments reveal some of the deep-seated alarm still aroused by the disfiguring condition, it’s also been suggested that lessons learned from the coronavirus could lead to leprosy rates being drastically reduced in South Asia—one of the areas where it remains most prevalent. During the pandemic, wealthy people in cities wouldn’t allow domestic help to come to their homes from where they lived in the slums for fear of COVID-19 infection. It is hoped that this dynamic will further expose the health disparity between rich and poor, maybe prompting a renewed effort to end the inadequate living conditions that incubate the disease.

People with leprosy have to deal with two crippling challenges— the lack of pain caused by deadened nerves that results in deforming injuries and the unseen internal pain they experience because of prejudice.

First, however, there will be a need to overcome the setback for existing leprosy patients caused by the pandemic. The lockdown across Asia meant many patients were not able to access the regular treatment required to treat them successfully, according to one group of researchers. Another study found people with leprosy were at higher risk of contracting COVID-19, in part because of the difficulty they had in maintaining personal hygiene due to deformities and lack of money for soap and sanitizers.

Dr. Mary Verghese
Dr. Mary Verghese,
Executive Director of The Leprosy Mission Trust India (TLMT)
Photo by The Leprosy Mission

The pandemic impacted leprosy patients more than any other vulnerable group, said Dr. Mary Verghese, executive director of The Leprosy Mission Trust India (TLMT). According to Dr. Verghese, “People affected by leprosy are one of the most marginalised sections of society.”

60% of those disabled by leprosy who were surveyed felt that life was “totally meaningless.”Elsewhere, with the pandemic bringing leprosy renewed media exposure, it could also awaken greater appreciation for the plight of those ostracized because of their condition. After all, being confined to one’s own home for an extended period because of coronavirus concerns may be uncomfortable, but it doesn’t compare to being forcibly isolated for the rest of one’s life in a leprosy colony.

It’s easy to recognize that people with leprosy have to deal with two crippling challenges—the lack of pain caused by deadened nerves that results in deforming injuries and the unseen internal pain they experience because of prejudice. There has not been a lot of research into the disease’s emotional damage. However, a recent study in Bangladesh set out to quantify how it impacts sufferers personally and found 60 percent of those disabled by leprosy who were surveyed felt that life was “totally meaningless.”

Because the pandemic has only worsened many leprosy patients’ isolation and economic hardship, one report in Nepal warned that it “may lead to increased loneliness among them, which may further affect their anxiety and depression level.”

GFA World Doing What it Can to Alleviate the Difficulties of People with Leprosy

Aware that people with leprosy were being pushed even further to the fringes by the pandemic, Gospel for Asia and other organizations already working among these outcasts did what they could to alleviate their difficulties.

Providing Basic Necessities

Providing Basic Necessities

GFA workers distributed laundry detergent, soap and food aid to widows and leprosy patients. These provisions were especially helpful because many leprosy patients sustain their daily existence through begging, which became impossible when the lockdown meant they couldn’t leave their homes.

Giving Goats as Income-Generating Tools

Giving Goats as Income-Generating Tools

Physical limitations preclude leprosy patients from some income-generating tools, but Gospel for Asia (GFA) has found a creative way to help them—giving them goats to raise. Goats offer a good solution for several reasons: They are fairly low-maintenance and easy to manage, they multiply quickly, and their kids and milk yield can provide a regular monthly income, eliminating the need to beg.

Helpful Care from Sisters of Compassion

Helpful Care from Sisters of Compassion

GFA’s work in scores of leprosy colonies across Asia extends beyond meeting just practical needs, as important as that is. GFA’s Sisters of Compassion and members of local churches who visit the colonies on a regular basis also aim to touch bruised hearts.

Physical Compassion and Genuine Concern

Physical Compassion and Genuine Concern

In addition to providing income-generating help, food and clothing, Gospel for Asia (GFA) teams offer physical care that embodies the love of Jesus. It comes in the manner in which Jesus responded when a man suffering from a skin disease came asking to be healed. Jesus didn’t do so just with a word of command, as He could have. Mark 1:41 notes, “Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out his hand and touched him.”

In the same way, Gospel for Asia (GFA) teams close the emotional gap that has separated so many people with leprosy from the rest of the world by literal hands-on care, such as tending for wounds. Patients at one colony were deeply touched when a visiting group shared a meal with them. It was “the first time people came and ate with us,” one said.

Among the residents of one of the leprosy colonies visited by Sisters of Compassion is Macia, who has lived there for more than 50 years, since contracting leprosy as a child. “Before the sisters came there was no one to help trim our hair or cut our nails, or help us clean our houses and encourage us,” she says. “The sisters help us by cleaning our wounds and they make us happy and encouraged all the time.”

Dr. K.P. Yohannan, GFA Founder
Dr. K.P. Yohannan, GFA World Founder

For GFA founder K.P. Yohannan, this incarnational ministry is “an example of how God works. He wants us, in our physical bodies, with hands, legs, eyes and ears, to live as Christ lived.”


Give to Help Those with Leprosy »

If this special report has touched your heart and you would like to do something to help people with leprosy, please share this article with your friends and consider making a generous gift to GFA World to help leprosy patients in South Asia and other locations.


About Gospel for Asia

Gospel for Asia – Transforming Communities (GFA World) is a leading faith-based mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across Asia, especially to those who have yet to hear about the love of God. In GFA’s latest yearly report, this included more than 70,000 sponsored children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and spiritual teaching available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news.


Read the rest of this Gospel for Asia (GFA World) Special Report: Pandemic Worsens the Hardships of Leprosy Patients – COVID-19 intensifies two crippling challenges Part 1

Read more blogs on Gospel for Asia, Leprosy, and the COVID 19 Pandemic on Patheos from Gospel for Asia.

KP Yohannan has issued two statements about the COVID-19 situation found here and here.

GFA’s Statement About Coronavirus


Learn more about the GFA leprosy ministry, or the Reaching Friends Ministry, helping remind people affected by leprosy that, despite the stigma of leprosy, they have dignity and are valued by God.

Learn more about the GFA World workers who carry a burning desire for people to know the love of God. Through their prayers, dedication and sacrificial love, thousands of men and women have found new life in Christ.

Learn more by reading these Special Reports from Gospel for Asia:


Learn more about Gospel for Asia: Facebook | YouTube | Instagram | LinkedIn | SourceWatch | Integrity | Lawsuit Update | 5 Distinctives | 6 Remarkable Facts | 10 Milestones | Media Room | Leprosy & COVID 19 | Endorsements | 40th Anniversary | Lawsuit Response | International Offices | Missionary and Child Sponsorship | Transforming Communities through God’s Love

Read what 24 Christian Leaders are affirming about Gospel for Asia.

This Special Report originally appeared on gfa.org.

Click here, to read more blogs on Patheos from Gospel for Asia.

January 14, 2022

WILLS POINT, TX – GFA World (Gospel for Asia) founded by K.P. Yohannan, whose heart to love and help the poor has inspired numerous charities like GFA World Canada, to serve the deprived and downcast worldwide, issued this second part of a Special Report update on girls facing decreased opportunity and increased violence, the young victims who remain hidden in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pensive mother and child
The most pressing question is what will happen to a generation of girls whose lives have been upended by the COVID-19 pandemic?

A Pandemic of Abuse and Exploitation

Woman and little girl from South Asia
Delhi: Born into an area with one of the highest female suicide rates in the world, this little girl’s mother, most likely, cannot offer a hopeful future to her daughter.

As girls face an increased risk of child marriage, they are also becoming more vulnerable to violence and trafficking.

In May 2020, World Vision, a Christian community development organization, suggested up to 85 million children worldwide would be exposed to physical, sexual or emotional violence for three months over the COVID-19 quarantine.[22] Imagine how many more children have now been impacted—lockdowns in many nations extended to well over a year! And while all children can face violence, girls and young women may also face abuse from a husband or boyfriend, rape, sexual assault or sexual harassment.

UNICEF reports that approximately 120 million girls and young women under age 20 have been raped or forced to perform sexual acts.[23] According to the World Health Organization, around 1 in 3 women endure physical or sexual violence from a romantic partner or sexual violence from some person during their lifetime.[24]

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, executive director of UN Women
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka,

Executive Director of UN Women
Photo by New African Woman Magazine

“It’s deeply disturbing that this pervasive violence by men against women not only persists unchanged, but is at its worst for young women aged 15-24 who may also be young mothers,” commented Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, executive director of UN Women. “And that was the situation before the pandemic stay-at-home orders. We know that the multiple impacts of COVID-19 have triggered a ‘shadow pandemic’ of increased reported violence of all kinds against women and girls.”[25]

Human trafficking woman survivor enabled to book a rescue flight
Gifts to Polaris enable them to book airplane rescue flights for human trafficking survivors who need to access services, testify in court, and reunite with their families. Photo by Polaris, Facebook

The pandemic has also increased girls’ risk for human trafficking. In April 2020, the anti-trafficking organization Polaris Project observed a 40-percent spike in the number of crisis calls to the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline requiring intervention within 24 hours.[26]

This increase in human trafficking didn’t just occur in the United States, though, and it may have the worst impact on developing nations, some of which have been hardest-hit by the virus. The U.N. Office of Drugs and Crime has predicted trafficking rates will increase, especially in places where unemployment rates have rapidly increased, and people from poor communities will likely be trafficked to places recovering more quickly.[27]

According to the World Health Organization, around 1 in 3 women endure physical or sexual violence from a romantic partner or sexual violence from some person during their lifetime. According to 2018 findings, girls comprised about 20 percent of total trafficking victims and 25 percent of victims trafficked for sexual exploitation.
Vectors by Freepik, www.freepik.com
Girl with access to technology
Becuase of COVID girls are spending more time online, which places them at risk to predators who might target them for sexual exploitation or abuse.

This may continue even years from now, due to the pandemic’s ongoing financial and social impacts. Times of economic need make children especially vulnerable to trafficking, and if a girl comes from a dysfunctional family situation or a home where one parent is absent, that also increases her risk for trafficking.[28] Furthermore, in places where children can easily access technology, they are spending more time online, which places girls in the sights of predators who might target them for sexual exploitation or abuse.[29] As the pandemic continues to strain both the economy and family relationships, girls will be increasingly at risk for trafficking. According to 2018 findings, girls comprised about 20 percent of total trafficking victims and 25 percent of victims trafficked for sexual exploitation,[30] but those percentages may increase due to changes in society, such as children’s increased time online, emotional stressors on parents (which may distract their attention from their children) and increased financial burdens on families (which may cause parents, especially in developing countries, to send their daughters to work, thus making them more available to traffickers).

Turning the Tide of the Pandemic’s Impact on Girls

Save the Children’s 2020 Global Girlhood Report
“Even before the COVID-19 crisis hit, progress for girls on some issues was under threat. Now, with reports of gender-based violence increasing across the world … and the number of children living in poverty estimated to climb by around 100 million,” COVID-19 is exacerbating the impacts of gender inequality for girls today. Photo by Save the Children

As reports and predictions increasingly forecast a grim future for girls, it’s clear the COVID-19 pandemic has become a global crisis for girls in a unique way.

Save the Children’s 2020 Global Girlhood Report sums it up: “The worst health impacts for girls might not result from infection with the virus. Instead, the greatest impacts on girls of the COVID-19 crisis are likely to be losing access to other health services, increasing poverty, food insecurity, losing access to education and being exposed to violence.”[31]

Even one year of financial and social upheaval can sow years of consequences. Women like Alexis can attest to the toll taken by years of physical, emotional and sexual abuse or trauma. What will happen to a generation of girls whose lives have been upended by the COVID-19 pandemic? How many years will it take to overcome the consequences of limited or halted education and increased chances for abuse or exploitation?

Now is the time to stand with non-profit organizations and governing authorities to ensure girls don’t fall through the cracks. Fostering safe communities for girls and promoting their nutrition, health and education can help protect and nurture girls to have a strong future despite the setbacks of a long pandemic.

Child sponsorship programs, including GFA World’s, World Vision’s and Compassion International’s, play a key role in creating safe, healthy communities and ensuring girls receive adequate care, even when lockdowns have prevented students from gathering for their usual tutoring programs.

Pervasive violence by men against women is at its worst for young women aged 15-24 who may also be young mothers. And that was the situation before the pandemic stay-at-home orders. Since then, multiple impacts of COVID-19 have triggered a ‘shadow pandemic’ of increased reported violence of all kinds against women and girls.

Throughout the pandemic, GFA World’s child sponsorship program has worked to meet the basic needs of children in the program, along with their families and communities. Gospel for Asia (GFA) workers provided COVID-19 relief to 2 million people during the pandemic in 2020 alone, and child sponsorship centers became community kitchens.

GFA wWorld food distribution event during the COVID 19 pandemic
Tamil Nadu: The Gospel for Asia (GFA World) child sponsorship center organized dry ration kit distribution to needy families in August 2020. The center provided rice, oil, toor dhal, turmeric powder, mustard seed and fenugreek seed – 1 packet each to 78 girls and their families.

At one food distribution event during the pandemic, Gospel for Asia (GFA) workers met Ajia, a 13-year-old girl who was caring for two younger brothers. They have parents, but their parents were living in a different country to find work and were sending money home to their children—until they lost work due to the pandemic. This left the children without money for their basic living expenses. The Gospel for Asia (GFA) workers were able to give Ajia and her siblings needed supplies and groceries.

“Thank you for your love and care toward us,” Ajia said. “You are the one who knew about our situation and fulfilled our needs.”

By providing something as basic as food, Gospel for Asia (GFA) workers are helping girls stay healthy—and keeping girls from begging on the streets, which may lead to exploitation. Hopefully, these free meals and groceries will not only provide for girls’ basic nutrition but also ease families’ financial burdens and encourage hard-pressed parents, making the home environment safer and more positive.

To mitigate the effects of the pandemic on girls’ well-being, child sponsorship programs and other non-profits must be able to continue their community development work to meet communities’ basic health and safety needs. Gospel for Asia (GFA World) and other organizations provide practical care to communities that benefits girls, such as clean water and sanitation facilities. Clean water is vital for everyone at all times, but it is even more important for girls so they can practice good menstrual hygiene, which is often compromised during times of emergency.[32] Constructing toilets not only improves the health of entire communities, but it also protects girls. Girls who must walk to a distant field to go to the bathroom risk sexual harassment or assault, especially because many go at nighttime for privacy reasons.


Give to Help Girls at Risk »

If you want to support girls in South Asia and Africa, consider a one-time donation to help young victims who have been delivered from desperate situations in their lives, but are still struggling everyday. Your gift will provide for their pressing needs, while we locate permanent sponsors to cover their monthly needs to remain in school.


Read the rest of this Gospel for Asia – Transforming Communities (GFA World) Special Report: Young Victims Remain Hidden in Pandemic’s Shadow  Part 1, Part 3


About GFA World

Gospel for Asia (GFA World) is a leading faith-based global mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across the world, especially in Asia and Africa, and sharing the love of God. In GFA World’s latest yearly report, this included thousands of community development projects that benefit downtrodden families and their children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and teaching providing hope and encouragement available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. GFA World has launched programs in Africa, starting with compassion projects in Rwanda. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://gfanews.org/news/.


Read more blogs on GFA World, National Missionary Workers, World Missions and the COVID 19 Pandemic on Patheos from Gospel for Asia.

GFA’s Statement About Coronavirus

Learn more by reading this Special Report from Gospel for Asia on the Lord’s work in 2020 through GFA and the partnerships worldwide while following Him in His work in 16 nations, including Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal.


Learn more about Gospel for Asia: Facebook | YouTube | Instagram | LinkedIn | SourceWatch | Integrity | Lawsuit Update | 5 Distinctives | 6 Remarkable Facts | 10 Milestones | Media Room | Widows & Coronavirus | Endorsements | 40th Anniversary | Lawsuit Response | International Offices | Missionary and Child Sponsorship | Transforming Communities through God’s Love

Notable News about Gospel for Asia: FoxNews, ChristianPost, NYPost, MissionsBox

Read what 25 Christian Leaders are affirming about GFA World.

This Special Report originally appeared on gfa.org.

January 10, 2022

WILLS POINT, TX – GFA World (Gospel for Asia) founded by K.P. Yohannan, whose heart to love and help the poor has inspired numerous charities like GFA World Canada, to serve the deprived and downcast worldwide, issued this first part of a Special Report update on girls facing decreased opportunity and increased violence, the young victims who remain hidden in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic.

GFA World (Gospel for Asia) issued this Special Report on girls facing decreased opportunity, increased violence, hidden by the pandemic

Alexis Martin
Alexis Ke’Erica Martin, a child sex trafficking survivor, was recently released from life in adult prison for the murder of her trafficker, although another person committed the fatal shooting while Ke was trying to escape from the abuse. Photo by Alexis Ke’Erica Martin Support Fund GoFundMe

In April 2020, most people around the globe were adjusting to life at home as governments instituted lockdown orders intended to curb the spread of COVID-19. To many, the limitations on normal activities, travel and socializing felt confining.

But for 22-year-old Alexis Martin, April 2020 meant a taste of freedom after more than six years in prison—and before that, sex trafficking.[1]

In an article for The Washington Post, Jessica Contrera shares how Alexis ended up in prison. By age 15, Alexis had experienced so many of the most horrific things that can happen to a girl—sexual abuse, rape, a miscarriage and sex trafficking. Her trafficker, Angelo Kerney, didn’t allow her to attend school and beat her when she threatened to run away. In Alexis’ desperation to escape, she became involved in a robbery plot that ended in the murder of Kerney. The teenage girl was then tried as an adult and sentenced to decades in prison.[2]

Then, in April 2020, the Ohio governor commuted Alexis’ sentence, allowing her to go free with parole. Even with this taste of freedom, she continues to face challenges, such as finding a job, due to the trauma she faced as a teenager and the black mark of a prison sentence.[3]

Woman suffering
Pundits were anticipating that the pandemic’s economic strain on families and the shutting down of schools would negatively impact the general well-being of girls, including their safety, health and education.

Alexis’ story is one of many showing how the abuse and exploitation of girls can have devastating consequences. Her story happened in America, a country where girls typically have many freedoms and opportunities that girls in developing nations do not. And Alexis’ story happened before a pandemic that caused far-reaching social and economic impacts for the entire world.

In some places, such as the United States, the availability of COVID-19 vaccines and the easing of many restrictions have made the virus seem more distant. Yet lurking in its shadow is a crisis threatening the safety and health of girls. As social isolation and poverty have increased, girls have potentially become the most under-recognized victim group of the pandemic.

Globally, the pandemic has threatened girls’ education, increased their risk for the kind of abuse and trafficking that devastated Alexis’ teenage years, and made them more vulnerable to child marriage and teen pregnancy. While statistics from 2021 regarding girls’ well-being remain to be counted, in spring 2020 non-profit organizations were already predicting that the pandemic’s economic strain on families and the shutting down of schools would negatively impact the health, education, safety and general well-being of girls if communities didn’t prioritize giving girls needed attention, care and education.

Two girls posing on a school balcony
For the first time in human history, an entire generation of children globally have had their education disrupted. Now, more than a year later, many children have spent more than a year out of the classroom—and many may never return.

COVID-19: A Long-lasting Threat to Education

1.6 billion learners globally—91% of the total—were out of school in an early April 2020 effort to halt the spread of COVID-19.As COVID-19 rapidly spread across the globe in the spring of 2020, governments around the world decided to keep people at home in hopes of slowing the pandemic. Large numbers of people could not work at all, while others lost income as business slowed or stopped due to the drop in customers. This especially hurt low-income workers who could not simply work from home, such as migrant laborers, daily wage laborers and others who lost their livelihood during the lockdowns. Gita Gopinath, an economist and director at the International Monetary Fund, suggests that the pandemic caused the greatest recession since the Great Depression.[4]

Now, with the pandemic further stretching struggling families’ resources, girls likely have faced, and will continue to face, lower chances of receiving needed nutrition and attending school.

As the pandemic curtails girls’ education by forcing them out of the classroom – a problem from which many may never recover – it is also puts them at risk for abuse and exploitation.

Being in a classroom protects girls from sexual predators, unhealthy relationships and abusive parents or relatives. But due to lockdowns, many girls no longer have the classroom as a safe space.

According to the global non-profit Save the Children, “In early April 2020, in an effort to halt the spread of COVID-19, an estimated 1.6 billion learners globally—91% of the total—were out of school. For the first time in human history, an entire generation of children globally have had their education disrupted.”[5]

16 year old Tania
Tania’s once hard-working father was suddenly blind and unable to provide as a result of a brutal mugging and acid attack. Tania immediately dropped out of school and began working the overnight shift in a shrimp factory to support her family; while her father begged on the street. Combined, their income was still not enough to feed the family. Fortunately, peeling shrimp didn’t peel away at Tania’s dreams who has big plans to open her own tailoring business. To help her achieve this dream, World Vision provided her with a sewing machine, and fabric. After two months of training, Tania is now able to work at home, where she is safe and makes enough to afford food for her entire family. While she is still working, she now has more time to rest, watch television, play and… just be a normal 16 year old again! Photo by World Vision USA, Instagram

Now, more than a year later, many children have spent more than a year out of the classroom—and may never return.[6]

As girls stay out of school, they risk devastating consequences to their health, well-being and future opportunities. Studies from the Ebola crisis have suggested that once girls were taken out of school due to Ebola, many didn’t return, even long after schools reopened.[7]

School closures pose the greatest challenge for girls in developing nations, where families may be struggling financially and communities may not have access to the technology needed for distance learning. Sometimes girls bear a greater burden in supporting the family during challenging times. They may be given extra household responsibilities, including caring for younger siblings or sick family members; this can decrease their opportunities to do schoolwork at home—and their chances of returning to school when the pandemic subsides.[8]

As schools in some places reopen, the pandemic’s effects are starting to be seen. In Kenya, for example, only 84 percent of teen girls returned to school, while 92 percent of teen boys came back.[9] This could be just the tip of the iceberg. Malala Fund, an NGO supporting girls’ education, estimates 20 million girls in developing countries will not return to the classroom.[10]

As the pandemic is curtailing girls’ education, it is also putting them at risk for abuse, exploitation and violence. Being in the classroom can help protect girls from sexual predators, unhealthy relationships and even abusive parents or relatives. But due to lockdowns, many girls no longer have the classroom as a safe space.[11]

Girls who miss opportunity for education due to financial reasons
In a culture that de-emphasizes a woman’s education, many girls in South Asia leave school at an early age, often due to financial reasons. It becomes their responsibility to work at home taking care of their siblings, doing household chores, fetching water, or preparing meals, which enable their parents to go searching for work.

Girls Pushed into Adult Responsibilities

2.5 million more girls could be at risk of child marriage, and in 2020 alone teen pregnancies may have risen by up to 1 million.Mayawati, a teenager in Nepal, wanted to continue school and study agriculture. “But her family’s struggles during the pandemic made her feel guilty about being a burden to her parents,” wrote Bhadra Sharma and Jeffrey Gettleman for The New York Times.[12] “She dropped out of school, then married a man who worked as a menial laborer. Her dreams … have quietly slipped away.”

Mayawati’s story reflects that of others in Nepal and around the world.[13] Because of the pandemic, parents struggling to feed their children may feel the need to marry off their daughters to reduce the number of mouths they must feed.[14] In addition, as girls spend time out of the classroom, they may spend more time with men and more unsupervised time with boys, which increases their chances for teen pregnancy and child marriage.[15][16]

Save the Children predicts a “dramatic surge in child marriage and adolescent pregnancy”: Within a five-year span, 2.5 million more girls could be at risk of child marriage, and in 2020 alone teen pregnancies may have risen by up to 1 million.[17]

Dr. Flavia Bustreo
Dr. Flavia Bustreo is a leading physician, public health professional and advocate for the health and human rights of women, children, adolescents and the elderly. Photo by United States Mission Geneva, Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

This means that those girls may lose the chance to ever complete their education, which will limit their chances for jobs in the future. In addition, girls who marry young are more vulnerable to sexual abuse and violence.[18] Child marriage and teen pregnancy also threaten girls’ physical health. Girls who give birth at very young ages can face a host of complications, including miscarriage, obstetric fistula—and death.[19][20]

“Complications of pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death in young women aged 15–19,” says Dr. Flavia Bustreo, a leader in the World Health Organization’s Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health. “Young girls who marry later and delay pregnancy beyond their adolescence have more chances to stay healthier, to better their education and build a better life for themselves and their families.”[21]


Give to Help Girls at Risk »

If you want to support girls in South Asia and Africa, consider a one-time donation to help young victims who have been delivered from desperate situations in their lives, but are still struggling everyday. Your gift will provide for their pressing needs, while we locate permanent sponsors to cover their monthly needs to remain in school.


Read the rest of this Gospel for Asia – Transforming Communities (GFA World) Special Report: Young Victims Remain Hidden in Pandemic’s Shadow  Part 2, Part 3


About GFA World

GFA World (www.gfa.org) is a leading faith-based global mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across the world, especially in Asia and Africa, and sharing the love of God. In GFA World’s latest yearly report, this included thousands of community development projects that benefit downtrodden families and their children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and teaching providing hope and encouragement available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. GFA World has launched programs in Africa, starting with compassion projects in Rwanda. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://gfanews.org/news/.


Read more blogs on GFA World, National Missionary Workers, World Missions and the COVID 19 Pandemic on Patheos from Gospel for Asia.

GFA’s Statement About Coronavirus

Learn more by reading this Special Report from Gospel for Asia on the Lord’s work in 2020 through GFA and the partnerships worldwide while following Him in His work in 16 nations, including Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal.


Learn more about Gospel for Asia: Facebook | YouTube | Instagram | LinkedIn | SourceWatch | Integrity | Lawsuit Update | 5 Distinctives | 6 Remarkable Facts | 10 Milestones | Media Room | Widows & Coronavirus | Endorsements | 40th Anniversary | Lawsuit Response | International Offices | Missionary and Child Sponsorship | Transforming Communities through God’s Love

Notable News about Gospel for Asia: FoxNews, ChristianPost, NYPost, MissionsBox

Read what 25 Christian Leaders are affirming about GFA World.

This Special Report originally appeared on gfa.org.

December 18, 2021

WILLS POINT, TX — COVID-19 has triggered a “shadow pandemic” of sexual abuse, violence and exploitation against girls, a shocking new report reveals on International Day of the Girl Child, Oct. 11. More than ever, girls face multiple threats to their safety, including sexual predators online, sex trafficking, and forced child marriage, says the report Young Victims Remain Hidden in the Pandemic’s Shadow (http://www.gfa.org/press/girls) by mission organization Gospel for Asia (GFA World). International Day of the Girl Child is an annual awareness event.

International Day of the Girl Child Report - Covid 19 triggered a shadow pandemic of sexual abuse, violence and exploitation against girls,
GIRLS FACE ‘SHADOW PANDEMIC’ OF SEXUAL ABUSE: COVID-19 has triggered a “shadow pandemic” of sexual abuse and exploitation against girls, a new report reveals on International Day of the Girl Child, Oct. 11. The report — Young Victims Remain Hidden in the Pandemic’s Shadow (http://www.gfa.org/press/girls) — by Gospel for Asia (GFA World) gives shocking insights into child marriage and online exploitation.

In more than 130 countries — including the U.S. — it’s legal for girls to marry under the age of 18. In North Carolina and Alaska, a girl can marry at 14 if she’s pregnant. In North Carolina, a 57-year-old man applied to marry a 17-year-old girl, the report says.

Worldwide, COVID-19 is accelerating a “global crisis for girls,” with surging joblessness and poverty putting pressure on struggling parents to marry off their daughters in their mid-teens or younger, the report says.

Millions of Girls ‘Exposed to Exploitation’

Globally, national lockdowns have disrupted schooling for millions of girls, and left them exposed to exploitation and greater risk of getting pregnant.

Save the Children predicts a “dramatic surge in child marriage and adolescent pregnancy.” The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that complications in pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death in girls and young women ages 15-19.

Governments around the world must do more, Gospel for Asia (GFA World) says, to protect girls from forced marriage so they can finish school and choose their own path in life when they become adults.

‘Protect Innocent Girls Now’

“If we fail to protect innocent girls now, we’ve failed an entire generation,” said Gospel for Asia (GFA World) Founder K.P. Yohannan (also known as Metropolitan Yohan).

The Dominican Republic — a Caribbean island nation — recently banned marriage under the age of 18, a move it’s hoped will protect girls there and could encourage other nations to follow.

In the U.S. and other countries, girls are increasingly victims of online sexual exploitation. A 14-year-old girl who sent a classmate a naked video of herself attempted suicide after it was posted on a porn website and viewed by other students. “Failing to stay safe online could entrap a girl in years of abuse,” the report says.

Lifeline for Girls at Risk

In developing nations, Gospel for Asia (GFA World) and other organizations sponsor thousands of girls at risk, enabling them to go to school, making sure they don’t go hungry, and mentoring them. Gospel for Asia (GFA World) says it helps girls “to show them God’s love.”

“It’s more vital than ever to provide girls with safe, nurturing environments and to bring justice and aid to those who’ve been abused,” says the report. “The pandemic will have years of consequences but, with God’s help, we can prevent it from destroying girls’ lives.”


About Gospel for Asia – now GFA World

Gospel for Asia (GFA World) is a leading faith-based global mission agency, helping national missionaries bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across the world, especially in Asia and Africa, and sharing the love of God. In GFA World’s latest yearly report, this included thousands of community development projects that benefit downtrodden families and their children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and teaching providing hope and encouragement available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. GFA World has launched programs in Africa, starting with compassion projects in Rwanda. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://gfanews.org/news/.

Media interested in interviews with Gospel For Asia should contact Gregg Wooding at InChrist Communications @ 972-567-7660 or gwooding@inchristcommuications.com


Learn more by reading this Special Report from GFA World on Rewriting the Tragedies of Girlhood Opening Doors for Girls Deprived of Opportunities.

Read more blogs on Human Trafficking, Social Injustice and the COVID 19 Pandemic on Patheos from Gospel for Asia.

Read what 25 Christian Leaders are affirming about GFA World.


Source: GFA World Digital Media News Room, Girls Exposed to ‘Shadow Pandemic’ of Sexual Abuse, GFA World Says

August 9, 2021

WILLS POINT, TX — K.P. Yohannan — founder of global humanitarian agency GFA World (Gospel for Asia which has been the model for numerous charities like Gospel for Asia Canada), best-selling author, and international speaker, who was born and reared in India — is available for media interviews on the current COVID crisis in India.

KP Yohannan, founder GFA World, author & speaker, born & reared in India, is available for media interviews on the India Covid crisis

What’s REALLY Going On in India Right Now?

Millions are suffering as India’s COVID “second wave” overwhelms the nation, hospitals overflow with patients gasping for breath, thousands die due to lack of medical oxygen supplies, and crematoriums struggle to keep up with the body count.

Cut through official “filters” and hear it straight from a no-nonsense, faith-based leader, who has worked directly with local church leaders on the frontlines in India’s megacities and rural villages for the past four decades.

Talking Points:

  • The catastrophic impact of India’s devastating “second wave”
  • The threat posed by India’s deadly new variant
  • What local church leaders in India are pleading for most right now
  • Getting aid shipments — including vital oxygen supplies — to the most needy areas
  • How your readers, viewers or listeners can help

TO ARRANGE AN INTERVIEW, CONTACT:
Gregg Wooding at InChrist Communications @ 972-567-7660 or gwooding@inchristcommuications.com


About K.P. Yohannan

K.P. Yohannan is the founder of Texas-based Gospel for Asia (GFA World), one of the largest faith-based humanitarian organizations in the world. He is also Metropolitan (lead bishop) of the indigenous, orthodox Believers Eastern Church, with more than 12,000 local congregations and 3.5 million members. He has authored hundreds of books, including Revolution in World Missions, with more than four million copies in print.

July 12, 2021

WILLS POINT, TX — India’s devastating “second wave” of COVID-19 is overshadowing another deadly tsunami of suffering — rampant hunger. GFA World (Gospel for Asia) reported growing desperation across India as we support efforts to feed those facing starvation amid the pandemic’s continuing onslaught. We have helped feed hundreds of thousands since the pandemic began.

On World Hunger Day, May 28, GFA World reports growing desperation in India as it supports efforts to help thousands starving amid COVID 19
HUNGER’S DEEP SILENCE: On World Hunger Day, May 28, Texas-based humanitarian agency Gospel for Asia (GFA World) reports growing desperation in India as it supports efforts to help thousands starving in “deep silence” amid the pandemic’s continuing onslaught.

“As COVID-19 ravages India, we’re seeing hunger on a massive scale,” said Bishop Danny Punnose, vice president of Gospel for Asia (GFA World), spotlighting the accelerating crisis on World Hunger Day, May 28.

In the nation’s pandemic hotspots, so-called “corona curfews” and lockdowns make it very difficult to get groceries — even if people have cash to spend.

‘Deep Silence’ Everywhere

“Markets are closed… no shopkeepers are willing to open their shops. People are struggling to get grocery items. (There’s) deep silence at all places,” local relief workers reported.

In India’s densely populated Uttar Pradesh state, local church members are going door-to-door, delivering free meals to COVID-impacted families in strict quarantine.

Many day laborers — among the poorest of the poor — have lost their jobs because of the pandemic, have no source of income, and no other way to get food.

Fear Grows

“The fear of going hungry, for many, is as great as the fear of the virus,” said Bishop Punnose. “Working alongside the government of India, we’re doing all we can to help relieve suffering and show people the love of God.”

Heartbroken parents were watching their children “starving to death before their eyes,” he said.

World Hunger Day — an annual awareness event — says 690 million people worldwide face chronic hunger, reportedly killing more than malaria, AIDS and tuberculosis combined.

For the latest information on GFA World’s COVID-19 efforts, visit: http://www.gfa.org/press/WorldHunger


About GFA World

Gospel for Asia (GFA World) is a leading faith-based global mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across the world, especially in Asia and Africa, and sharing the love of God. In GFA World’s latest yearly report, this included thousands of community development projects that benefit downtrodden families and their children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and teaching providing hope and encouragement available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. GFA World has launched programs in Africa, starting with compassion projects in Rwanda. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news.

Media interested in interviews with Gospel For Asia should contact Gregg Wooding at InChrist Communications @ 972-567-7660 or gwooding@inchristcommuications.com


July 2, 2021

WILLS POINT, TX — COVID-19 is making a heart-wrenching situation even worse for abused and outcast widows around the world, says a new report for International Widows Day, June 23, an annual awareness event. The COVID pandemic is a widow-maker for thousands of the world’s most vulnerable women, causing them an “unbearable level” of sorrow and suffering, says the report — Coronavirus Intensifies Hardships for Widows — by Texas-based humanitarian agency GFA World.

‘Our Hearts Go Out’

Tragedy of COVID 'widow-maker' on International Widows Day
TRAGEDY OF COVID ‘WIDOW-MAKER’ ON INTERNATIONAL WIDOWS DAY: COVID-19 is making a heart wrenching situation even worse for abused and outcast widows around the world, says a new report for International Widows Day, June 23. The COVID pandemic is a widow-maker for thousands of the world’s most vulnerable women, causing them an “unbearable level” of sorrow and suffering, says the report — Coronavirus Intensifies Hardships for Widows — by GFA World.

“The pandemic is crushing widows around the globe, and our hearts go out to each and every one of them, wherever they live,” said K.P. Yohannan, founder of Gospel for Asia (GFA World), an organization that helps thousands of widows in desperate circumstances — providing food, sewing machines to help them generate income, vocational training, and other aid.

“Our goal is to bring them comfort, encouragement, and God’s love,” said Bishop Danny Punnose, Gospel for Asia (GFA World) vice president. “We want them to know that God is always with them and loves them.”

The report — which also highlights the heartache and grieving of young “COVID widows” in America — describes the tragic ordeal widows are facing in different parts of the world where they’re viewed as objects of shame and treated with contempt. The pandemic, the report says, is “multiplying” their pain.

Shocking examples include:

  • In Nigeria, widows were locked in a room with their husbands’ corpses and forced to shave their own heads — a ritual of shame.
  • In Afghanistan, outcast widows established their own “colony” on a hillside above a cemetery just outside the capital, Kabul, where they live in mud homes they’ve built themselves, disowned by their families and excluded from mainstream life.
  • In Kenya, during COVID quarantine, there were reports of widows being driven out of their homes by their in-laws who considered them to be “excess burden.”

Globally, the United Nations warns, the pandemic “is likely leaving tens of thousands of women newly widowed” and exposed to rejection and mistreatment by their families and neighbors. Rampant hunger fueled by lockdowns and soaring unemployment makes life even harder for widows totally dependent on menial work or begging to survive.

In some countries in Asia and Africa, new widows have barely buried or cremated their husband before someone tries to take their home, land or possessions, citing loss of property rights after the husband dies.

For the latest information on GFA World’s COVID-19 relief efforts, visit: www.gfa.org/press/COVID-spike


About GFA World

Gospel for Asia (GFA World) is a leading faith-based global mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across the world, especially in Asia and Africa, and sharing the love of God. In GFA World’s latest yearly report, this included thousands of community development projects that benefit downtrodden families and their children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and teaching providing hope and encouragement available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. GFA World has launched programs in Africa, starting with compassion projects in Rwanda. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://gfanews.org/news/.


Read more blogs on GFA World, WidowWorld Missions and the COVID 19 Pandemic on Patheos from Gospel for Asia.

GFA’s Statement About Coronavirus

Learn more by reading this Special Report from Gospel for Asia: Widows Face Uphill Battle After Losing Spouses — The plight of widows, whether in affluent or developing nations, can be a desperate struggle


Learn more about Gospel for Asia: Facebook | YouTube | Instagram | LinkedIn | SourceWatch | Integrity | Lawsuit Update | 5 Distinctives | 6 Remarkable Facts | 10 Milestones | Media Room | COVID the Widow Maker | Endorsements | 40th Anniversary | Lawsuit Response | International Offices | Missionary and Child Sponsorship | Transforming Communities through God’s Love

Notable News about Gospel for Asia: FoxNews, ChristianPost, NYPost, MissionsBox

Read what 25 Christian Leaders are affirming about GFA World.

May 14, 2021

WILLS POINT, TX – GFA World — one of the world’s largest humanitarian agencies founded by K.P. Yohannan, whose heart to love and help the poor has inspired numerous charities like GFA World Canada, to serve the deprived and downcast worldwide — is sending oxygen equipment and supplies to help people fighting for breath amid devastating second wave of COVID-19 in India.

GFA World is sending oxygen equipment and supplies to help people fighting for breath amid devastating second wave of COVID-19 in India.
FIGHTING FOR BREATH: GFA World — one of the world’s largest humanitarian agencies — is sending lifesaving oxygen equipment and other vital supplies to help people fighting for breath amid India’s devastating second wave of COVID-19. People can support the agency’s COVID-19 relief efforts by going to its website.

The Texas-based organization is readying the first shipment of lifesaving medical supplies as India remains in the grip of a worsening crisis. Demand for oxygen has increased sevenfold since last month. Reports say two people are dying of COVID-19 every single minute in India — gasping for air as oxygen and equipment runs out at hospitals across the nation.

“We cannot stand by and watch thousands suffer and die, gasping for breath,” said GFA World Founder K.P. Yohannan, as the nation’s official COVID-19 death toll approaches 250,000. “India is literally suffocating to death. I’ve never seen anything that compares with this tsunami of suffering.”

‘Third Wave’ of Compassion

Along with other organizations, GFA World is “helping launch a ‘third wave’ of compassion, prayer and humanitarian aid to India,” said Yohannan, as the agency announced efforts to ship oxygen equipment as quickly as possible.

The organization is partnering with indigenous local hospitals in Southwest India to get aid to those suffering.

“We’ve been serving the poor in Asia for more than 40 years and we’re able to get help fast to those who need it the most,” Yohannan said. “The government of India is doing all it can to help us and other organizations bring urgent relief right now.”

The U.S. State Department has urged all Americans in India to leave the country immediately as the nation of nearly 1.4 billion people continues to shatter global records for new daily COVID infections. A deadly new ‘double mutant’ variant in India is also raising alarm.

Dying in the Streets

“We’re all weary of the pandemic and ready for it to end, but we cannot forget those in the thick of the battle right now,” Yohannan said. “Seeing people dying in the streets in India — and suffering elsewhere in Asia and Africa — surely must move us to show God’s love through compassion and action.”

GFA World has set up a way for companies and individuals to donate urgently needed medical equipment and supplies in support of the agency’s COVID relief efforts. Those interested in donating equipment and supplies can visit www.gfa.org/press/AirforIndia and email responseteam@gfa.org.


About GFA World

GFA World is a leading faith-based global mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across the world, especially in Asia and Africa, and sharing the love of God. In GFA World’s latest yearly report, this included thousands of community development projects that benefit downtrodden families and their children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and teaching providing hope and encouragement available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. GFA World expects to launch programs in numerous African nations, starting with compassion projects in Rwanda. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news.

Media interested in interviews with GFA World should contact Gregg Wooding at InChrist Communications @ 972-567-7660 or gwooding@inchristcommuications.com



Source: GFA World Press Room, GFA World Sending Vital Oxygen Supplies to COVID-Ravaged India

May 7, 2021

WILLS POINT, TX – GFA World, a major humanitarian agency founded by K.P. Yohannan, has been the model for numerous charities like GFA World Canada, to help the poor and deprived worldwide, is calling for “eleventh hour” prayer as India suffers a devastating second wave of COVID-19 — and the world faces a growing number of deadly new variants.

GFA World is calling for "eleventh hour" prayer as India suffers a devastating second wave of COVID-19 & the growing number of new variants
GFA WORLD CALLS FOR PRAYER AS ‘TSUNAMI OF SUFFERING’ HITS INDIA: GFA World is calling for “eleventh hour” prayer as India suffers a devastating second wave of COVID-19 — and the world faces a growing number of deadly new variants. South Asia is experiencing a “tsunami of suffering,” says GFA World founder K.P. Yohannan.

In India — the world’s second most-populous nation with nearly 1.4 billion people — the pandemic death toll is soaring. According to BBC reports, people are dying in streets outside overwhelmed hospitals, gasping for air as oxygen supplies run out. Crematoriums can’t keep up with the body count. “In my lifetime, I’ve never seen anything in my experience that compares with this tsunami of suffering,” said K.P. Yohannan, founder of Texas-based GFA World. “A catastrophe is unfolding in front of our eyes — and we’re now at the eleventh hour.”

Yohannan, author of Never Give Up, called for global prayer as new COVID-19 variants threaten more carnage around the world.

‘Gasping for Breath’

“We can be sure that God weeps for those who are suffering, for the many who are even now gasping for breath,” he said. “The government of India — and other governments around the world — desperately need prayer for wisdom right now as they confront this unforgiving pandemic.”

India — the world’s biggest COVID-19 vaccine producer — has seen its number of new cases skyrocket by well over a million in less than a week. About 2.7 million vaccine doses were being given every day, but the country is now at risk of running out of shots, according to reports.

Neighboring countries, including Bangladesh and Nepal, are also at a crisis point.

Gospel for Asia (GFA World) had hundreds of workers on the frontlines in the aftermath of the catastrophic 2004 Asia tsunami that killed more than 200,000 people. “The Asia tsunami was a massive disaster,” Yohannan said, “but the scale and scope of suffering was nothing like we’re seeing now.”

‘Hope to the Suffering’

With national workers across South Asia — and with new compassion projects launching in Africa — GFA World is “committed to bringing hope to those suffering most,” Yohannan said. During the pandemic, the organization has been helping local workers distribute food to tens of thousands of families and migrant workers on the edge of starvation.

“We have people on the ground right now, ready to care for millions, and show them God’s love,” he said. “We’re thankful that governments in India and around the world are willing to help us get into the places where suffering is unbearable, to serve the sick, the poor, and the dying.”

The pandemic also threatens to wreak havoc across East Africa where over 7 million people are on the cusp of starvation, according to humanitarian organization World Vision.

GFA World is launching compassion projects in the East African nation of Rwanda this year as it expands its reach beyond Asia, where it serves millions of the world’s poorest people, caring for children and providing clean drinking water to over 37 million people.

For the latest information regarding GFA World’s COVID-19 efforts, please visit: http://www.gfa.org/press/COVID-spike


About GFA World

GFA World is a leading faith-based global mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across the world, especially in Asia and Africa, and sharing the love of God. In GFA World’s latest yearly report, this included thousands of community development projects that benefit downtrodden families and their children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and teaching providing hope and encouragement available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. In the years ahead, GFA World expects to launch programs in Africa, starting with compassion projects in Rwanda. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news.

Media interested in interviews with GFA World should contact Gregg Wooding at InChrist Communications @ 972-567-7660 or gwooding@inchristcommuications.com



Source: GFA World Press Room, GFA World Calls for ‘Eleventh Hour’ Prayer Amid ‘Tsunami of COVID Suffering’

May 6, 2021

WILLS POINT, TX – GFA World (Gospel for Asia) founded by K.P. Yohannan, has been the model for numerous charities like GFA World Canada, to help the poor and deprived worldwide, issued this second part of a Special Report update on Malaria making a comeback amid the worldwide impact of the COVID 19 Pandemic.

Progress Ebbs and Flows in the Fight to Beat Malaria

Recent developments in the fight against Malaria have placed a heightened spotlight on World Malaria Day, observed on April 25. Fortunately, despite the high death toll and other troublesome signs lately, not all the news about malaria treatment is bad. There are gains amid the setbacks.

Woman receives mosquito net.
This woman in West Bengal was very grateful to Believers Eastern Church and its leaders for providing her with a mosquito net to protect herself and her family from vector borne diseases like malaria.

One positive example is Myanmar, where the annual malaria death toll of 3,800 a decade ago has decreased to approximately 170. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria credits the efforts of 17,000 community volunteers who provide rapid testing and treatment, with serious cases referred to health facilities. Volunteers also educate the public through national antimalaria campaigns.14 Unfortunately, it’s unknown if the recent military coup in Myanmar will adversely impact the recent progress it’s achieved in the prevention of malaria.

News of another positive development appeared last October in Legion. About the same time the United States revealed a COVID-19 vaccine would be ready by the end of 2020, the Canadian magazine reported that a noted medical journal announced a new approach to fighting malaria.

Legion reported a clinical researcher for the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has developed a vaccine for mosquito-borne diseases, based on mosquito spit. It causes the immune system to recognize mosquito saliva proteins and produce antibodies. The antibodies promote immunity by binding to pathogens to prevent them from damaging cells, plus coating pathogens and alerting other immune cells to attack and remove them.

“Those antibodies recognize the proteins the next time they’re encountered, sparking an immune response that goes into action to impair or prevent infection—and not just to malaria, it turns out,” wrote author Sharon Adams. “In animal studies, saliva vaccines impaired development of mosquito-borne Zika virus and sandfly-borne leishmaniasis.”15

In the first human trial of this vaccine in 2017, Adams said a strong immune response was observed among 49 volunteers, with only minor side effects. Next it will be tested on larger groups; if clinical trials continue to prove successful, the first effective malaria vaccine may be just around the corner.

Mother and child resting inside their mosquito net
Maya from a village in Uttar Pradesh was given a mosquito net as a Christmas gift by Gospel for Asia. She can now protect her family from mosquito bites that transmit vector-borne diseases like malaria, Zika, dengue, encephalitis and more.

In addition to this promising development, a European magazine carried a report from a healthcare company official saying there are antimalaria positives to be gained from the COVID-19 fight. Hogan Bassey, a Nigerian native who experienced several bouts with malaria as a child, noted that the pandemic highlighted system failings in global healthcare. He said if we are able to address those problems, the world will be better positioned to eradicate malaria and other diseases.

The chief innovation officer and founder of LivFul said his company is working with others—including nonprofits—to develop a repellent that it hopes will prove an efficient control tool. It has been working on a project in Ghana with a pharmaceutical company to improve one of the repellant’s ingredients, using LivFul’s technology to drive access.

Hogan Bassey
After moving to the USA from Nigeria, Hogan Bassey began to work on an insect repellent formula to change the world. The true breakthrough for his new company, LivFul, came after partnering with a physical chemist to create a brand-new technology which allows insect repellent to remain on top of the applicant’s skin for 14 hours at a time. Photo by Terry News

“When we developed a revolutionary family-friendly insect repellent to halt the transmission of diseases like malaria and Dengue fever, we knew we could have a significant impact on insect-borne disease,” Bassey wrote in EPM Magazine. “If people in malaria-prone areas can purchase and use our repellent, these diseases can be stopped before they destroy lives, families, communities and industries.”16

Such a product won’t be the first tool developed. National Geographic recently reported hundreds of thousands of children across Kenya, Malawai and Ghana have been receiving the RTS,S vaccine, whose development has taken 35 years and cost hundreds of millions of dollars. While some African health professionals have asked if the expense and logistics of multiple vaccinations are worth it, the magazine said some Chinese scientists have been utilizing a new approach: preventing malaria from even occurring.

It goes back to 1972, when the Chinese discovered Artemisinin, a drug used to treat malaria. Now, scientists there believe Artemisinin Combination Therapies (ACTs) can be delivered to an entire community simultaneously, through Mass Drug Administrations. The goal is to reduce levels of the malaria parasite in human blood, so mosquitoes won’t contract it and spread it.

“The life cycle for a mosquito is 30 days,” explains Ethan Peng, senior manager in Kenya for the Chinese company New South, which manufactures ACTs. “So by mass medication, we can clear the source from all human beings (so) the mosquitoes cannot pick up on the malaria parasite again with their short lifespan.”17

Crowd and woman walking away happily after receiving the gift of mosquito nets
People in rural villages in West Bengal often suffer from malaria, but these folk were very happy to receive mosquito nets for their families. Over eight hundred mosquito nets were gifted to the villagers who come from economically poor backgrounds, and might not have been able to afford to buy them on their own.

Mosquito Nets Still the Leading Tool for Protection

Children sleeping peacefully under the protection of a mosquito net.
Vandana and Vaibhav are sleeping peacefully on their bed in Maharashtra under their mosquito net which protects them from mosquito bites. They received their bed nets from a Christmas gift distribution from Gospel for Asia.

When it comes to fighting malaria, the bed net still appears to be the leading tool. When COVID-19 hit in March 2020, WHO malaria scientist Pedro Alonso expected the biggest malaria disaster in 20 years after African countries temporarily suspended bed net campaigns.

That didn’t seem to be happening, the scientist said five months later. He credited lobbying by WHO’s Global Malaria Programme and its partners, which persuaded countries to resume their net distribution campaigns. Despite concerns over continuing COVID-19 problems, Alonso said, “We probably stopped the first big blow.”18

Among the many non-governmental organizations doing their part to distribute mosquito nets is Gospel for Asia (GFA).

Since 2010, GFA has distributed more than 1.3 million nets to at-risk residents in mosquito-prone areas, including 380,000 in 2019 (many are treated with insecticide, with availability depending on local conditions).

These efforts are augmented by distribution of malaria pills at GFA’s medical camps. In 2019 the organization hosted nearly 1,300 camps, which are free to attendees.

The difference net distributions make can be seen in the stories of people like Baharupa, a 55-year-old farmer and father of three who felt pressured to drink alcohol at many village-wide events. Not only did he often wind up drunk, he developed an addiction. That all changed after Satyam, a GFA worker, organized a distribution of 4,000 nets.

Bhranti
After 71 years, Bhranti, a widow, no longer has to worry about mosquitoes biting her in the night thanks to the new bed net she received from a distribution event.

“Who can give us mosquito nets without money?” Baharupa wondered. “This shows [the believers’] love towards us.”19This experience so touched Baharupa that it began a transformation in his life.

Another story of relief involves a 71-year-old widow whose husband had died more than a decade prior. With four daughters all married, Bhranti spent evenings alone, worried about the tattered net providing her only protection from mosquitoes. She received a new net through a distribution organized by a GFA worker.

“I am so grateful to the [GFA workers] for their love and care and for providing a mosquito net,” Bhranti says. “Now I do not need to worry about buying a mosquito net as I have been provided a new one.”20

Even amid the problems COVID-19 has caused in poorer parts of the world, GFA’s supporters have been able to help local workers in the field save lives and prevent more tragedies during the pandemic, says Gospel for Asia (GFA) founder, Dr. K.P. Yohannan.

Dr. K.P. Yohannan, GFA Founder
Dr. K.P. Yohannan,
GFA World Founder

“Without proper prevention or treatment, the consequences of a simple mosquito bite are very serious in many places of the world,” Yohannan says. “But for just $10, we can protect numerous lives, one net at a time.”


What can we do about mosquito-driven scourges? »

One simple way to fight mosquito-borne diseases like malaria, is to consider giving a needy family a simple Mosquito Net. For only $10, Gospel for Asia’s field partners can distribute one of these effective nets to an at-risk family in Asia and provide them with safety from insects during the day and at night.


Read the rest of this Gospel for Asia – Transforming Communities (GFA World) Special Report: Malaria Makes Comeback Amid Pandemic  Part 1


About GFA World

GFA World (formerly known as Gospel for Asia) is a leading faith-based global mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across the world, especially in Asia and Africa, and sharing the love of God. In GFA World’s latest yearly report, this included thousands of community development projects that benefit downtrodden families and their children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and teaching providing hope and encouragement available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. In the years ahead, GFA World expects to launch programs in numerous African nations, starting with compassion projects in Rwanda. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news.


Read more blogs on GFA World, Malaria, Mosquito Nets and the COVID 19 Pandemic on Patheos from Gospel for Asia.

Learn more by reading this Special Report from Gospel for Asia: Winning the Ancient Conflict Between Man and Mosquito — Know Your Enemy or Succumb to Vector-borne Diseases

KP Yohannan has issued two statements about the COVID-19 situation found here and here.

GFA’s Statement About Coronavirus


Learn more about Gospel for Asia: Facebook | YouTube | Instagram | LinkedIn | SourceWatch | Integrity | Lawsuit Update | 5 Distinctives | 6 Remarkable Facts | 10 Milestones | Media Room | Water Stress | Endorsements | 40th Anniversary | Lawsuit Response | International Offices | Missionary and Child Sponsorship | Transforming Communities through God’s Love

Notable News about Gospel for Asia: FoxNews, ChristianPost, NYPost, MissionsBox

Read what 24 Christian Leaders are affirming about Gospel for Asia.

This Special Report originally appeared on gfa.org.


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