Conversations with Beneficiaries of Malaria Nets Distributed in September 2012 - Part 2

Since the last distribution of 1000 long lasting insecticide treated nets in September 2012, we have been in contact with the recipients of nets and have had several conversations with them so that we can increase the effectiveness of our malaria prevention program in Zambia. For a short video on the distribution day activities click here. To learn more about our malaria prevention program click here. A summary of our continuing dialogue with beneficiaries of nets is given below.

Information gathered from beneficiaries of nets

In Jan 2013, our Project Nurse and health care workers, had conversation with 54 beneficiaries who received nets in September 2012. In addition, to the information provided in our last report, we learnt that:
1. A net is large enough that four children under five years of age or 2 adults can sleep under it. This implies that two nets are effective in preventing malaria for six people in the household and hence the most effective use of donor funds.
2. The use of mosquito nets has reduced the incidence of malaria in the community of Matero. This has been attributed to the use of nets and the spraying of insecticides in the water logged areas by the local government agencies. The biggest impact of the use of nets has been on the improved health of young children. Malaria can have severe health consequences on the health of a young child - a poor diet and a positive status aggravates the problem .
3. The provision of mosquito nets has led to an increase in school attendance. Almost all families confirmed that their children's health had improved significantly after sleeping under a net.
4. We were happy to learn that between June and December 2012, there were no reported cases of malaria amongst pregnant women in the community of Matero. This is very encouraging as malaria can be fatal for HIV positive pregnant women.
5. People living with HIV are three times as likely to suffer from malaria, as compared to a person who is HIV negative. The use of bed nets and ARV medication has gone a long way in prolonging the life span of HIV positive children and adults. The results for people with TB are similar.

Challenges Faced: Some of the challenges faced in the field are:

(i) Recipients of nets have enough information on the use of the nets but they have limited space as the same room is used as a bedroom during the night and a sitting room during the day. This implies that they have to hang the net before sleeping every night and remove it the next day.
(ii) Some of the nets are being used to keep away flies during the day.
(iii) Most beneficiaries wash the nets with normal washing powder when the nets get dirty and do not re-treat them with insecticide after washing. We are continuing to educate the people on the proper maintenance, washing and recommended frequency for re-treatment with insecticide.

Need For Nets: The need for nets for several thousand more nets is ongoing for the following reasons:
(i) In areas like Chunga and Zingaluma there are several water logged areas/sewers which are breeding grounds of mosquitoes.
(ii) Due to an unemployment rate upwards of 67%, the residents of the community are not able to afford a net. In addition, a high rate of HIV incidence increases their vulnerability to malaria.

Request for Funds: At this time we are raising funds to provide 1000 long lasting insecticide treated nets (LLIN’s) in the spring of 2013 and an additional 1000 nets in fall 2013. Please donate generously as your donation will go a long way in preventing malaria and keeping the children healthy and in school.

To Sum: All beneficiaries interviewed are happy with the receipt of nets, and the activities organized on distribution day like demonstration of the proper use, maintenance, and re-treatment of nets. In addition, we provide ongoing health education during home visits. The recipients of nets hope that this program continues in 2013 and beyond and would like us to convey their thanks to donors.

Thanks for your support for this program.