At a glance: Canada

Bednets from Canadian ‘Spread the Net’ campaign to tackle malaria in Liberia

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF/2007/Wright
Rick Mercer and Belinda Stronach of Spread the Net are joined by President and CEO of UNICEF Canada, Nigel Fisher (right).

By Aynsley Morris

GATINEAU, Canada, 18 April 2007 – It is a lofty goal: to cover Africa in blue bednets and stop death by malaria. A recent announcement by UNICEF Canada unveiled an important partnership with the Canada-based ‘Spread the Net’ anti-malaria campaign, and together, the partners aim to reach this goal.

To that end, Spread the Net and UNICEF Canada have purchased 33,000 long-lasting, insecticide-treated bednets for distribution by UNICEF to children and pregnant women in Liberia.

The announcement was made in late March at the Canada 2020 Conference on social policy and global leadership, where Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was a keynote speaker. President Johnson Sirleaf visited Canada to speak about the challenges facing Liberia – including the significant health challenge of malaria, the number-one killer of Liberian children.

Spread the Net will raise funds in Canada for the purchase of insecticide-treated bednets for children under the age of five and pregnant women in both Liberia and Rwanda. The two-year campaign, launched in November 2006, aims to raise $5 million to provide bednets to these two countries.

Canadians join the campaign

Driven by its co-chairs, Canadian Member of Parliament Belinda Stronach and comedian Rick Mercer, the campaign has resonated with people across the country. From schoolchildren to community groups, Canadians are contributing funds so that UNICEF can purchase the nets, which not only keep an infected mosquito from biting a child but can actually kill the mosquito.

UNICEF Image
© UNICEF/2007/Wright
Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf took part in the Spread the Net anti-malaria campaign unveiling in Canada. The campaign will distribute 33,000 long-lasting, insecticide-treated bednets to children and pregnant women in her country.

“I think one of the reasons Canadians love this campaign so much is because it’s so simple. Bednets are a very tangible tool to protect children,” says UNICEF Canada President and CEO Nigel Fisher. “Canadians also hate mosquitoes, making the campaign even more appealing! So killing the mosquitoes is an added bonus.”

Canadian high school senior Katie Hill thinks the idea is brilliant. “I didn’t realize what a big problem malaria is in Africa,” says Katie. “And I didn’t realize how easy it is to stop transmission of the disease. One bednet can make a huge difference in the life of a child.”

As part of a Spread the Net fundraising drive at her school, Katie invited a UNICEF Canada volunteer to address her classmates about the issue of malaria.

Nets, distribution and education

Properly used insecticide-treated nets can reduce malaria transmission by at least 50 per cent and deaths of children by 20 per cent.

The funds raised through Spread the Net will be used not only for the purchase of bednets but also for net distribution and education on their use. Many families who will receive the nets – which are to be provided to them at no cost – have probably not used a bednet before. Ensuring that the nets are used properly will increase their effectiveness.

Canadians are being encouraged to donate to the cause with the Spread the Net slogan: ‘1 Net. 10 Bucks. Save Lives.’


 

 

New enhanced search