Project Mosquito Nets, provides long lasting insecticide treated nets and education on prevention of malaria to children and families vulnerable to malaria in Zambia. The goal of this program is to keep vulnerable children and families free from malaria.
Impact of this Program
In order to assess the impact of our malaria prevention program we interviewed 426 women beneficiaries last September. The goals of this study were to assess:
i. if the nets are being used every night,
ii. if the nets were maintained and stored as demonstrated during the malaria prevention day activities,
iii. if the beneficiaries had knowledge about re-treatment of nets, and
iv. if there was a decline in the incidence of malaria.
Results of the study: Based on our conversations with beneficiaries we concluded that:
(i) Nets are used every night. This is good as according to the World Health Organization, sleeping under a mosquito bed net is one of the most cost effective and easiest ways to prevent malaria.
(ii) Most beneficiaries have improved knowledge about the proper storage and maintenance of nets. Out of the 426 women interviewed, four did not know how to use the nets. These women were provided with another demonstration on the proper use and storage of nets.
(iii) Most beneficiaries had information about re-treatment of nets which is required every six months and that this service is available free of cost via by Government agencies.
(iv) Each net is being used to sleep at least 2-3 children or two adults. This implies that our malaria prevention program benefits approximately 4000-6000 children or 4000 adults each year.
(v) Most women had better knowledge about malaria prevention and symptoms of malaria.
(vi) Most nets were in good condition (not torn).
(vii) There is a reduced incidence of malaria in the community.
(viii) There are fewer missed days from school as a result of better health of the children.
Need for Nets
In Zambia: Follow-up interviews with nets recipients indicate that the nets distributed over the last 2-3 years are in good condition and are being used as directed. However, we need several thousand more nets as most residents of Matero cannot afford to purchase a net. The community of Matero, has a population of approx. 275,000 and most residents are poor (live on less than $2 per day) due to a high incidence of HIV and malaria, and unemployment rates upwards of 60%.
Globally: Globally, malaria is still a problem. There were an estimated 200 million cases of malaria and 600,000 deaths in 2013. Ninety percent of malaria deaths occur in Sub-Saharan Africa and malaria is the leading cause of death for children under five in Africa. Malaria continues to claim over 400,000 children every year even though it is easily preventable and treatable. Pregnant women are especially vulnerable to malaria and it can be fatal for HIV+ pregnant women.
According to the World Health Organization, 90 percent of families with a bed net use it. However, in 2013 only 50% of families in sub-Saharan African slept beneath a mosquito bed net. This highlights a need to provide additional nets. Moreover, a decrease in the usage of nets can lead to a major insurgence of the disease and can reverse the gains achieved in preventing deaths due to malaria over the last several years.
Request for funds for our next distribution of nets: At this time we are raising funds to provide 2000 long lasting insecticide treated nets and education on prevention of malaria before the next malaria season in 2016. A donation of $10 can prevent malaria for a family of four young children and two adults. Every little bit counts. Please donate generously as a family can be malaria free for just pennies per person.
Thanks for your caring and dedication to keep children malaria free in Zambia.