Nets distribution in a rural area in Zambia
Malaria season is here: In Zambia, the malaria season begins in September/October after the rains and peaks in February/March. To minimize the number of people getting infected by malaria, we provided 1500 mosquito bed nets and education on malaria prevention last month. This brings the total number of nets provided in 2017 to 4000. We feel equipped to take on the malaria season and confident that beneficiary families will be malaria free and see an improvement in their health.
Recent Malaria Prevention Activities: The goal of our malaria prevention program is to keep children and families healthy and malaria free. To achieve this goal, we provided 4000 long lasting insecticide treated nets and education on prevention of malaria to vulnerable families in two communities - one urban and one rural - in Zambia. Before the provision of nets, representatives of community based organizations were provided with education on malaria prevention and a demonstration on the proper use and storage of nets. The education component included a discussion on hygiene, drainage maintenance, filling and removal of mosquito breeding sites, negative impact of malaria in pregnancy, information about malaria prevention for HIV+ children, identification of signs and symptoms of malaria, and information regarding re-treatment of nets.
Impact of Malaria Prevention Activities: Provision of bed nets and education on malaria prevention has gone a long way in reducing the incidence of malaria in our communities. Because of the provision of education, families are using nets regularly. Beneficiary families (i) have better knowledge about proper use and storage of nets, (ii) re-treat nets every six months, (iii) need fewer visits to hospitals/clinics due to better health, (iv) have fewer cases of malaria, (v) see an increase in school attendance due to improved health of the children, and (vi) have a higher quality of life.
Measuring Impact: To assess impact, a follow-up study will be conducted in November 2017. The study will assess how the provision of nets and education has impacted the incidence of malaria and the health of beneficiary families. Results of past studies have underscored the need and huge positive impact of our malaria prevention program.
Need for Nets: Most families in our communities cannot afford to purchase a net as they live on less than $2 per day - defined as extreme poverty by the UN. In addition, a rise in prices of essential items is causing increased hardship for residents. According to the UNICEF, children under five years of age are most susceptible to malaria but less than 50% of these children sleep under a net in Zambia. Hence there is an ongoing need for nets.
Next Steps: For 2018, our goal is to provide 5000 long lasting insecticide treated nets and education on malaria prevention as impoverished communities in Zambia need thousands more nets to stay healthy and malaria free. Going forward our plan is to expand coverage area of our malaria prevention program to more communities in Zambia.
Let’s not stop now: Globally, we are winning the fight against malaria. Between 2010 and 2015, malaria incidence fell by 21% and malaria mortality rates fell by 29% among all age groups, and by 35% among children under 5. A decrease in nets coverage now can lead to a major resurgence of the disease and can reverse the gains achieved over the last several years. Eradication of malaria will save thousands of lives leading to an increase in GDP which in turn will enable the African economies to take better care of their people. We can win the fight against malaria which will have huge economic benefits globally.
To sum: Over the last seven years, Project Mosquito Nets has been able to provide over 14,800 insecticide treated nets and education on malaria prevention to families vulnerable to malaria in Zambia. Direct beneficiaries are 59,200 young children or 29,600 adults as each net can sleep up to four young children or two adults. We are confident that as more families use insecticide treated nets, there will be fewer cases of malaria and that deaths due to malaria will be reduced to zero.
Thank you for helping keep vulnerable children and families' malaria free and healthy.
Education malaria prevention and demo on nets use
Nets provided to a Church in Lusaka, Zambia
Mosquito Nets provision in a rural area in Zambia