Massive bed net distribution in DR Congo
Kisangani, DR Congo , 7 January 2010 – Whenever a mother arrives at the Umoja Health Centre near Kisangani with a young child who is running a temperature, vomiting, or convulsing, the health workers there know the diagnosis is likely to be malaria.
Lucie is the mother of Cecilia, 4, who is suffering from malaria for the second time this month. Florence, the nurse at the health centre, has prescribed anti-malarial drugs for Cecilia once again.
It's estimated that Congolese children under the age of five suffer at least six bouts of malaria each year. More than 90,000 children die of malaria each year.
Prevention better than cure
For many months now, UNICEF and its partners, WHO, UNITAID, USAID, the European Union and the World Bank have been working to distribute 5.5 million bed nets to 1.8 million households in Oriental and Maniema provinces.
Each household (an average of six people), on presentation of a ticket previously distributed by a community worker, receives three mosquito bed nets.
The rainy season has further complicated the already formidable logistics.
"At times the river's force has been so strong that everyone has had to be careful not to allow the nets to sink," said UNICEF Logistics Officer Dodo Missingi.
Monauie has four children and she declares that sometimes her son Samuel, 3, gets malaria several times in a month.
"We are really very happy to receive these bed nets free of charge. I will be able to replace my old nets, which now have holes in them. That is how the mosquitoes get in, bite us and make us ill with malaria."
By Bibiane Ambongo