Three nets for every home kicks of new anti malaria drive in Sierra Leone
Freetown, Sierra Leone, 1 December 2010 – An effort aimed at putting treated mosquito nets in every home in Sierra Leone has been ongoing during the Mother and Child Health Week starting from 26 November 2010.
The $20 million donation aims to reduce malaria related deaths amongst the under fives and involves the distribution of more than 3.2 million Insecticides Treated Bed Nets (LLINs) throughout the country.
"This is fantastic news. This campaign ensures the protection of over 6 million people from the number one killer disease in this country. Mosquito nets are the most effective way of preventing malaria", said WHO Representative in Sierra Leone, Dr Wondimagegnehu Alemu and his colleague, the UNICEF representative in Sierra Leone, Mahimbo Mdoe added: "We advocated very actively for this funding. The nets are vital to tackle the high malaria death rate in Sierra Leone. We are very grateful that the donors made this possible."
The main donors for this initiative are the World Bank, Dfid, the UN Foundation, the IFRC, CARE and United Methodist.
The distribution of more than 3.2 million bed nets will substantially contribute to reducing the malaria related mortality rate and thus help reaching not only the Abuja Rollback Malaria target of Universal Access for LLINs by 2010, but also the Millennium Development Goals.
Sierra Leone is one of 35 developing countries that account for 98% of deaths caused by malaria worldwide. Most of the victims of the disease are children and pregnant women. Sleeping under mosquito nets that are treated with insecticides can reduce the incidence of malaria episodes by 50%.
With 3.2 million mosquito nets, each and every household throughout the country receives up to 3 nets. The bed nets are being distributed during the ongoing Mother and Child Health Week in November 2010 when families are being provided with a range of health interventions such as the administration of Vitamin A, de-worming tablets and oral polio vaccination to children under five years old.
The Ministry of Health and Sanitation in Sierra Leone and its partners organise this intervention twice a year, in May and November, to reach out to the most vulnerable who might not be able to access a health center.
"Rapid assessment surveys to examine the overall coverage of bed nets are being undertaken by supervisors of the campaign on a daily basis during the campaign. To measure the impact of the intervention a Malaria Rapid Impact Assessment is planned which will compare in-patient figures of different age groups in ten different hospitals before and after the intervention. A post campaign survey to measure ownership, retention and utilization of LLINs distributed during the campaign will also be conducted.
"Our donors have a right to expect that the intervention they funded is properly monitored, and they have a right to know the impact of the activity" Mohamed Daudis Koroma, Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation said.
"At the same time Monitoring and Evaluation Measures make it easier for us to learn from previous experience and provide more effective interventions in the future."
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