Mosquito nets for all children under the age of 5
UNICEF supports a pilot project to introduce universal access to mosquito nets in Mozambique.
Maputo, May 2009 – All children under five years living in the 92 districts not covered by house spraying in Mozambique will have received before the end this year a mosquito net treated with long lasting insecticide (LLIN).
Up until last year, campaigns to distribute long lasting insecticidal nets, led by the Mozambican government with the support of UNICEF and other partners, covered 84 districts where there was no spraying. Of the 240,000 nets needed for the remaining eight districts, UNICEF intends to supply this year 180,000 nets, including 25 per cent of the nets required for pregnant women in the country.
“The use of mosquito nets treated with long lasting insecticide, complemented with house spraying with insecticide and timely access to health care, means that a significant number of children will be protected from the risk of exposure to malaria,” said UNICEF Representative Leila Pakkala.
Earlier this year, UNICEF supported the Gaza Provincial Health Directorate to distribute about 20,500 nets in Mabalane district, making it possible for the entire population of that district to sleep under a mosquito net. This project clearly showed how universal access to mosquito nets – a new worldwide policy – can be achieved in Mozambique.
Malaria remains the single main cause of mortality among children in Mozambique. It is estimated that 36,000 children die of malaria every year. This disease is responsible for 40 per cent of out-patient consultations, and for 60 per cent of the hospitalisations in the paediatric wards.
Malaria may cause death through acute infection, through severe anaemia caused by repeated malaria infections, and also through low weight at birth resulting from the mother’s infection by malaria during pregnancy.
Since 2000, UNICEF has supported the Ministry of Health to distribute mosquito nets, as a low cost and effective form of malaria prevention which can be controlled by the households themselves and communities. Up to last year, UNICEF has supported the distribution of about 2.5 million long lasting insecticidal nets, out of a total of 6.1 million treated nets distributed by the government and various partners.
In 2009, UNICEF continues to support the distribution of nets to children under the age of 5, pregnant women, orphaned and vulnerable children, people living with HIV and households affected by the floods.
Apart from these interventions, UNICEF supports actions to make communities aware of the benefits of using mosquito nets. It also supports the Government to acquire medicines to treat malaria, expand prevention strategies and develop more wide-ranging policies to control malaria.