Health
 Zambia
Project #6187

Project Mosquito Nets

by Power of Love Foundation
Vetted
Malaria Bed Nets being Provided
Malaria Bed Nets being Provided

This report is different from others as it shares a story about failing – yes we failed to complete an extension to our malaria prevention project in Zambia. Here is the scoop:

Our Goal: The goal of Project Mosquito Nets is to reduce the incidence of malaria in the community of Matero in Lusaka, Zambia. This goal is achieved through the provision of long lasting insecticide treated nets and education on prevention of malaria to thousands of children and families vulnerable to malaria.

Need to Empower Community Residents: The community of Matero is characterized with a high incidence of malaria and HIV; high co-infection rates between malaria and HIV can prove fatal for young children, expecting moms, and older people living with HIV. In addition, this community is characterized with low incomes due to low education and an unemployment rate upward of 60%. Most residents are poor and live on less than $2 per day – defined as extreme poverty by the UN. And hence there is a huge need for the provision of malaria bed nets (as most residents cannot afford to purchase them), and to create sources of income for community residents.

Malaria Prevention and Community Empowerment: Given these characteristics of the community, we thought it makes sense to prevent malaria and make the community stronger by teaching them how to make malaria bed nets for use at home or for sale. Our plan for the first few months, was to assure an income to residents by purchasing nets from them. After a few months as the quality of nets improved, residents could sell them in the market for income. This project seemed like a perfect solution to the twin problems of malaria and low incomes due to lack of marketable skills. We decided to implement the project in two phases.  

Phase 1: As a first step we connected with the creator of DNP technology that uses waste plastic to make malaria nets, and plastic sheets (to cover windows to keep out mosquitoes). Other items that can be made include cell phone covers, hand bags, school bags, rain coats etc. which can be used at home or sold for an income. In addition, recycling plastic waste helps keep the community clean. This unique project could achieve several goals at a relatively low cost.

We selected a dynamic lady from the community to be trained in DNP technology. The training was completed successfully and the trainee went home to Zambia super excited about this new technology.

Phase 2:  In this phase our goal was for the trained community member to conduct 4-5 workshops that would provide training in manufacturing mosquito bed nets from waste plastic. Our goal was to train a total of 200-225 residents and make these workshops an annual feature of our malaria prevention program.

Our team on the ground then spent 3-4 weeks trying to collect the right equipment to make bed nets. We discovered that the equipment required (for example, special needles, electric sewing machines, boards) to manufacture mosquito nets was simply not available locally or if available was too expensive to make the project viable. Second, we discovered that the community was not ready to learn this technology. We had to take the decision to fail forward by cancelling the proposed workshops even though a significant amount of time and resources had been invested during Phase 1 of this project.

We are hopeful that we could implement Phase 2 in the future (2017?) when we have collected the right equipment and when the community is ready to learn this new technology.

What we Learnt? Our experience with this extension project taught us that:

  1. It is critical to plan and visualize all phases of a project well before embarking on the project. We learned that we should have created a comprehensive list of equipment needed, if all the equipment was available locally and at what cost.
  2. It is important to involve community members from the very beginning; for example, community members can play an active role in brainstorming, idea testing and subsequently planning stages of the project.
  3. Failing forward can save resources down the line that can be used for other life-saving projects or extensions to projects.    
  4. Once the decision to fail forward has been taken, project leaders and community members should brainstorm on making improvements on the original idea and how to do things differently next time.

Thanks for helping eradicate malaria in Zambia.

mbia.

At the venue for distribution of nets
At the venue for distribution of nets
Nurse answering questions
Nurse answering questions
Education on Malaria Prevention
Education on Malaria Prevention

Links:

The Power of Love team along with beneficiary families in Zambia, would like to say a big “Thank You” to you. As a result of your generosity and caring, we were able to provide 2000 insecticide treated nets and education on prevention of malaria to children and families vulnerable to malaria in Zambia. Due to the continued provision of nets we are seeing a reduction in the incidence of malaria and with improved health more children are able to attend school regularly.

Recent Malaria Prevention Activities: In July 2016, we were able to provide 2000 long lasting insecticide treated nets and education on prevention of malaria to children and families vulnerable to malaria.The event was held at Matero Catholic Church in Lusaka, Zambia and attended by 700-750 beneficiary families. The education on malaria prevention component included a demonstration on the proper use and storage of nets, hygiene, drainage maintenance, filling and removal of mosquito breeding sites, negative impact of malaria in pregnancy, information about malaria for HIV+ children, identification of signs and symptoms of malaria, and information regarding re-treatment of nets every six months.

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 community. As a result of our malaria prevention program, beneficiary families have (i) have increased knowledge about proper use and storage of nets, (ii) are able to re-treat nets every six months, (iii) need fewer visits to hospitals/clinics, (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 and general well-being.

Measuring Impact: A follow-up study will be conductedin October 2016, to assess the impact of nets on the incidence of malaria and on the health of beneficiary families. This study will assess: regular use and proper storage of nets, knowledge about malaria prevention, and the health of beneficiary families. Results of past follow-up studies have underscored the need for our malaria prevention program.

Plan for 2017Our goal is to provide 5000 malaria bed nets and education on malaria prevention to children and families in 2017.  Most families in our community cannot afford to purchase a net due to a high unemployment rate in the community. In addition, a rise in prices of essential items is causing increased hardship for residents. Hence there is an ongoing need for nets. With the provision of these nets, our goal is to eradicate malaria from Zambia and keep children and families healthy and malaria free.

Is it possible to reduce malaria deaths to zero? The answer is “yes, we can eradicate loss of life due to malaria as it is both preventable and curable. Malaria has been eradicated in the US and it is possible to eradicate it worldwide. In fact, over the last 15 years, increased prevention and control measures have led to a 60% reduction in malaria mortality rates globally. 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.

Over the last seven years we have been able to provide over 10,800 insecticide treated nets and education on malaria prevention to families vulnerable to malaria in Zambia. Direct beneficiaries are 43,200 young children or 21,600 adults as each net can sleep up to four young children or two adults. Going forward our plan is to provide 5000 insecticide treated nets or more than double the number of beneficiaries each year.

Thank you for helping us eradicate malaria in Zambia. 

Links:

Father’s day is June 19! Let us celebrate fathers everywhere by giving a gift of health to a family in Zambia. Your donation will help prevent malaria, keep vulnerable orphans and children healthy and allow them to attend school.

Location and Need: Power of Love’s malaria prevention program is located in Matero – one of the largest and poorest compounds in Lusaka Zambia. This community is characterized with a high rate of unemplyment and a high incidence of HIV, AIDS and malaria (co-infections rates between malaria and HIV are high). Most residents are poor and live on less than $2 per day – defined as extreme poverty by the UN.  

Malaria Prevention Day 2016: In order to reduce the incidence of malaria in Matero, we will be providing 2000 long lasting insecticide treated nets and education on prevention of malaria to children and families next month. Direct beneficiaries will be 8,000 young children or 4000 adults as a net can sleep four young children or two adults. Over the last six years, our malaria prevention program has benefitted an estimated 35,200 children or 17,600 adults via the provision of 8,800 insecticide treated nets and education on prevention of malaria. 

Next Steps: We are raising funds to provide 5000 nets before the next malaria season in 2017.  The need for nets continues to be huge as most families cannot afford to purchase a net. Also, the recent rise in prices of essential items due to a fall in the value of the Zambian Kwacha in 2015, is causing increased hardship for residents in our community. The current inflation rate in Zambia is 21% and families need more support to survive these difficult times.  

Thank you for helping us eradicate malaria in Zambia. 

Links:

Happy Mother’s Day from our Zambian Families. This Mother's Day give a gift of health to a family in Zambia. Your ongoing support for our malaria prevention program keeps children malaria free, healthy and in school.

Malaria Prevention Day 2016: We will be providing 2000 long lasting insecticide treated nets and education on prevention of malaria to children and families vulnerable to malaria before the start of the next malaria season in 2016.

Impact: As a result of our malaria prevention program, we are seeing a reduced incidence of malaria and improved knowledge of malaria care and prevention in our community. In 2015 only two children out of 2000 beneficiary families contracted malaria, were treated, and are in good health.       

Is Malaria still a Problem? Globally, we lost 438,000 lives to malaria in 2015 even though this disease is easily preventable and curable. Children under five are especially vulnerable to malaria illness, infection and death and more than 800 children under five die of malaria every day. 

Our Solution: Every year before the start of the malaria season, we provide:

  • Long lasting insecticide treated nets children and families vulnerable to malaria
  • Education on prevention of malaria
  • Demonstration on the proper use and maintenance of nets.
  • Follow-up conversations to ensure nets are used and maintained properly.

Over the last six years, we have been able to provide 8,800 long lasting insecticide treated nets and education on prevention of malaria to children and families in Zambia. These nets were used by an estimated 35,200 children (as each net can sleep up to four young children) or 17,600 adults (as each net can sleep two adults). 

Why Nets? According to the WHO, sleeping under a mosquito bed net is one of the most effective means of preventing malaria and 90% of families with a bed net use it. Over the last two decades there has been significant progress made in reducing the incidence of malaria; but decreased coverage going forward can lead to a major insurgence of the disease.   

Why Zambia?: In Zambia, the need for nets is high as:

  • All areas are high malaria transmission areas. In our community many areas are water logged and a breeding ground for mosquitos.   
  • Vulnerability to malaria is high due to high incidence of HIV and TB: Malaria can be fatal for an HIV+ pregnant woman and it significantly compromises the health of children living with HIV.
  • Most people in our community of Matero live on less than $2 per day, defined as extreme poverty by the UN, and cannot afford a net.

Thank you for helping us eradicate malaria in Zambia. 

Links:

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. 

Links:

 

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Organization Information

Power of Love Foundation

Location: San Diego, CA - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.poweroflove.org
Project Leader:
Alka Subramanian
Founder/Director
San Diego, CA United States
$28,325 raised of $35,000 goal
 
481 donations
$6,675 to go
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