Project Mosquito Nets Launched in Rural Zambia
Project Mosquito Nets was launched in Kapri-Mposhi (a small town) in rural Zambia in September 2010. We would like to thank Against Malaria Foundation (AMF) for providing a grant of 1300 long lasting insecticide treated nets to the Power of Love Foundation. A shipment of 1300 nets was received in Lusaka in August 2010 for distribution in Kapiri-Mposhi in Zambia. View photos of the event.
Kapiri Mposhi is a small town in Zambia, located about 185 kms. north of the capital city of Lusaka. It lies within the latitude and longitude of 13 deg 59’ S and 28 deg 43’ E.
Some of the compounds in Kapiri-Mposhi are: Ndeke, Soweto, Sacramento, Turn-off, Zambia, Kawama, and Matilyo. The nets were distributed to people living in the Ndeke compound in Kapiri-Mposhi. The Ndeke compound has a population of 9360 people and 2722 households. The reason Ndeke compound was chosen for this distribution was because its population is at high risk and vulnerable to Malaria, and too poor to afford bed nets. In addition, the government has been unable to provide free nets to the people here. Lastly, a high prevalence of HIV makes the population at a higher risk for malaria as their immune system is compromised.
As a result of a grant provided by AMF, 2600 people in the Ndeke compound in Kapiri-Mposhi were provided with nets (as we assume 1 net for 2 sleeping spaces). The launch of distribution of mosquito nets in Kapiri-Mposhi was the result of team work and partnership by three organizations: the Power of Love Foundation based in the US, Matero Care Center based in Lusaka, Zambia, and Shalom Project based in Kapiri-Mposhi in Zambia. At the Power of Love Foundation, we strongly believe that it is important to get community buy-in/ownership to ensure long term success of such distribution activities. Accordingly, we worked with the officials of the Ministry of Health, Government Clinic, the District Health Management Team, and community members so that they were involved from the beginning in all activities related to distribution of mosquito nets.
Distribution of Nets
Pre-Distribution Activities: An organization in Kapiri-Mposhi called Shalom Project was responsible for the identification of beneficiaries’ and for training them on proper maintenance of nets. Identification of beneficiaries took place over a period of 7 days and six staff members completed this job. A team of twenty volunteers from Shalom visited the homes of each beneficiary. The Ndeke Compound is approximately 4 km in radius and has about 3,200 people living there. Recipients of the nets were happy to be on the list gave their names willingly to Shalom staff when they were assured that they will be receiving nets. They told the staff that they were looking forward to receiving the nets.
Profile of Beneficiaries: Most of the families receiving nets are unemployed, have very few assets and income and are unable to purchase a mosquito net. They depend on small scale farming and sell vegetables and other agricultural products to earn a few Kwacha. In addition, most of the households visited are headed by grandparents who are caring for several grand children as they have lost their own children to HIV/AIDS.
There is no government school in the area and children go to a community school. Access to education is very limited and there is need for another school for the children. The people in this area are willing to mould the bricks as part of their contribution towards building a proper school or at least a classroom.
Distribution Day: Distribution of nets took place between on September 10, 11 and 12, 2010. The event was launched by a representative from the Office of the District Commissioner. The Pastor from Shalom Project offered a prayer before distribution of the nets. More than 400 people attended the launch day event including representatives from the District Health Management team and the Head Nurse from the Ndeke Clinic. The building where the event took place has a capacity of 700 and therefore distribution was completed over a course of three days to accommodate all 2600 beneficiaries.
The local Clinic in Ndeke conducted demonstrations on the proper treatment, and use and set up of the mosquito nets. The Head Nurse from Ndeke Clinic spoke to beneficiaries on prevention of Malaria, proper use of mosquito nets, drainage maintenance, filling and removal of breeding sites, and treating of mosquito nets. The Nurse emphasized the negative impact on health of malaria especially for pregnant women for whom this disease could lead to maternal death, abortion, still birth and low birth weight. The Nurse also underscored the importance of proper use and maintenance of the Mosquito nets.
All beneficiaries were educated on prevention of Malaria. The malaria education component included;
1. Health education on prevention of malaria e.g. proper use of mosquito nets, drainage maintenance, filling and removal of breeding sites, treating of mosquito nets.
2. Negative impacts of malaria in pregnancy e.g. maternal death, abortion, still birth and low birth weight.
3. Facts of malaria in immune compromised children.
4. High risks of death to fewer than 5 children.
5. Identification of symptoms of malaria.
As the mosquito nets were being distributed the beneficiaries waited impatiently for their turn to receive one. Some of them danced after receiving the nets while most of them were praising God for this gift. Many of them said that this event will lead to an improvement in their living conditions and felt loved and cared for by the donors of the nets. Some of them expressed a desire to meet and thank the donors personally and wanted to convey their gratitude through the Power of Love staff.
Even after the distribution was completed several people came from neighboring compounds to inquire if they could get nets too. These people had heard from their friends about the free nets distribution and were disappointed when they were told that the distribution was over. It was difficult to convince them that the nets were all gone.
1. Since the nets reached later than scheduled in Lusaka, Zambia the distribution event had to be postponed two times. This led to concerns among a few beneficiaries who thought that we were using their names for purposes other than provision of free nets.
2. Due to budgetary constraints, staff traveling to Kapiri-Mposhi from Lusaka, were not provided with funds to cover their expenses for board and lodging. Also, the cost of transportation of nets from Lusaka to Kapri-Mposhi was higher than budgeted.
Need for More Nets
There is already a request for more nets from other compounds in Kapiri-Mposhi. On the day of distribution, the District Commissioners Representative thanked us and requested that we come back with more nets. Also, the Head Nurse from Ndeke Clinic commented that the incidence of malaria in the area was high and that the area needed many more nets and education on malaria to reduce malaria deaths.
Project Mosquito Nets Launched in Lusaka, Zambia
Project Mosquito Net was launched in Lusaka, Zambia on April 21, 2010. The event was attended by over a 500 people including dignitaries from the Copmead/Jons hospice, Government Clinics, the District Health Management Committee, Rotary Club of Nkwazi, and St. Johns Ambulance. It was an open event for the community. View photos of this event »
At the event, 500 mosquito nets were distributed to 5 groups of people as follows:
(i) 200 nets were provided to care givers of the HIV positive children who are enrolled in Power of Love’s pediatric AIDS program.
(ii) 135 nets were provided to pregnant women from various local Clinics, Churches, and the community.
(iii) 95 nets were provided to children under 5 years of age, and
(iv) 70 nets were provided to people living with TB or HIV/AIDS.
Health Education Day 2010
The activities carried out during the day commenced with a prayer, speech from the Guest of Honor. In his speech the Guest of Honor, briefly described Power of Love’s work in the Matero compound and the importance of preventing Malaria by using long lasting insecticide treated nets (LLIN’s) as Malaria can be fatal in an area with a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS (especially for children less than 5 years and pregnant women).
This was followed by a demonstration on the treatment of the mosquito nets, and a health talk on prevention of malaria via proper use of mosquito nets, drainage maintenance, filling and removal of breeding sites for mosquitoes, and the right way to set up and use the net. The speaker emphasised that ” prevention is better than cure”
All participants learned about the proper use of nets, and prevention of Malaria day while being entertained by songs and dances. Health Education Day 2010 closed with a vote of thanks from one of the beneficiaries.
Criteria for the Beneficiaries
The selection of beneficiaries was as follows:
(i) Care givers of children who are HIV positive and cannot afford to buy a net.
(ii) Pregnant women who cannot afford to purchase a net. Clinics, Churches, and our community partners were consulted.
(iii) Children under five who are HIV positive or are infected with TB.
(iv) People who are infected with TB and HIV.
Impact of Malaria in Africa
Malaria is Africa's leading cause of under-five mortality. Every year, 700,000 children under 5 years of age die of Malaria. In addition, a total of one million people die of Malaria every year – a disease that is easily preventable and curable.
Malaria can be prevented by:
Boiling water for drinking, and
Using LLIN’s (long lasting insecticide-treated nets). LLIN’s are considered one of the best means of protection against the mosquito-borne disease. Regular use can reduce deaths from Malaria by 50%, yet fewer than 5% of African children sleep under one.
Most of the children provided with nets were HIV positive at birth and are cared for by their grandmothers, single parents or extended families. For an HIV positive child, contracting Malaria could lead to a severe health risk or prove fatal. Further, women are four times more likely to get sick and twice as likely to die from Malaria if they are pregnant. Most of the women are unemployed, widowed or a single parent. Lastly, due to the high co-infection between TB, Malaria and HIV, a person who is HIV positive is more prone to Malaria and if treatment is not provided in a timely manner the disease could be fatal.
Need For Nets in Matero Compound, Lusaka
The Matero compound has a high need for distribution of mosquito nets as:
(i) There are a lot of shallow wells and sewerage ponds and this has made the area more prone to breeding of mosquitoes.
(ii) Many houses have backyard gardens to grow vegetables (due to the high prices of food), and these are breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
(iii) Due to the high unemployment levels, and prostitution in the area, a lot of people especially women, children and girls are prone to get infected by HIV.
The Government does provide free mosquito nets to pregnant women and children less than five years (with proof of age). However, the number of nets provided by the Government, is far less than the need for nets in the area.
Impact of the Nets Distribution and Follow-Up
As a result of use of the long lasting insecticide treated nets we expect that:
(i) We expect fewer cases of Malaria in the Matero compound.
(ii) We expect that fewer children will need drugs for Malaria.
We will be conducting post distribution analyses to measure the impact of the distribution.