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UNICEF-supported campaign protects 1.5 million people from malaria

© UNICEF video
Rahantanirina Francette, a mother with a 1-year-old child, participated in the campaign and re-treated her bed net with insecticide.

By Kun Li and Sandrine Martin

ANTSIRANANA, Madagascar, 16 November 2005 – Malaria is the biggest killer of children in Madagascar. Every day some 160 children die from preventable diseases in the country, and more than a quarter of those are from malaria.

“Last year my little brother became very ill with high fever,” said Derisy, 13, of Antsahalalina village, on the north-eastern coast of Madagascar. “My parents brought him to the health centre. There, the doctor said he had malaria and gave him treatment. He is fine now, but I was really afraid, I thought he would die,” recalled Derisy.

In the region of Sambava, where Derisy lives with his family, malaria is highly endemic and prevalence rate reaches 20 per cent. “Mosquitoes are everywhere! When there is light I can see them and kill them. But when it’s dark, it is dangerous, because they can bite you and you do not see them,” said Deirsy.

To protect children from the deadly disease, UNICEF, along with the World Health Organization (WHO) and Madagascar’s Ministry of Health, recently launched a campaign in the malaria-endemic zones of Antsiranana province.

© UNICEF video
Health workers instruct villagers on how to properly treat their bed nets with insecticide.

“Treating the bed nets with insecticide protects children and women under the net, because insecticide kills the insect that touches it. It is the reason why we are promoting treating the bed nets with insecticide,” said UNICEF Programme Coordinator Francisco Basili.

But the net needs to be dipped in insecticide every six months in order to achieve the best results. The campaign, launched in September this year, serves the purpose of reminding families to re-treat their bed nets. The process of re-dipping is a relatively simple exercise. With the help of health workers, the villagers can quickly learn how easy it is to treat their own nets.

Derisy’s village is one of the last to take part in the campaign. “Because my mother is pregnant, it is not recommended she touches the insecticide. So I re-dipped the net by myself.” said Derisy. “This is quite easy to do, but you have to be careful with water dosage and put on plastic gloves. When the water and insecticide mix is ready, you then dip the net into the bowl, wait for ten minutes. After that, you wash the net with soap and water,” explained Derisy.

At the end of the campaign, a total of 240,000 bed nets were re-impregnated with insecticide, benefiting nearly 1.5 million people.

“Now I always sleep under a mosquito net and I haven’t been ill from Malaria at all, so it works indeed!” concluded a proud Derisy.




16 November 2005:
UNICEF correspondent Misbah Sheikh reports on a campaign in Madagascar that trains people how to re-impregnate their bed nets with insecticide.

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