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    Mosquitoes around the home can be reduced significantly by minimizing the amount of standing water available for mosquito breeding. Residents are urged to reduce standing water around the home in a variety of ways.


    The best way is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.This can be accomplished using personal protecting  while outdoors when mosquitoes are present. Treated bed nets should be used sleeping. Mosquito repellent should be used when outdoor.


    Nearly half of the world’s population is at risk of getting malaria. Pregnant women are particularly at risk of malaria. Children under 5 years are at high risk of malaria.


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Hang up! The New Slogan

Hang up! This is the new slogan accompanying the paradigm shift in the distribution of insecticide treated nets (ITNs) in communities.
Under this, volunteers go to the homes of beneficiaries and hang up the ITNs over the sleeping areas of the households.

ITNs which have been approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO), give double protection by preventing the mosquito from landing on a person while the insecticide in it repels or kills the mosquito when they land on the net.

ITNs have been known to reduce mortality in children under five by about 20 per cent and malaria illnesses among children under five and pregnant women by up to 50 per cent.

In times past, ITNs were distributed to people to hang themselves but they were not used for the purpose for which they were intended.

Stakeholders at a malaria event in Accra, Ghana were shocked to hear that a beneficiary of an ITN had actually used it to cover her cassava dough to protect it from flies. This drew laughter from the audience, though the revelation was very disturbing. But that is the sad situation of how ITNs are sometimes misused.

A survey showed that almost every household in Ghana had an ITN but sleeping in the ITN was the problem.

NETSFORLIFE is one organization that is championing the ‘hang up’ project in order to forestall the situation where ITNs are not used for the intended purpose.

NETSFORLIFE programme partnership has since its inception in 2006, distributed a total of 8.5 million mosquito nets in 17 African countries including Ghana as part of its campaign to fight malaria, according to its 2011 annual results.
According to the organization, combined with the community education and net monitoring work of nearly 74,000 trained malaria control agents, these nets have saved the lives of over 100,000 children under five and reduced the overall malaria-related death rate by 45% in communities where NETSFORLIFE is active.

“I have seen at firsthand the success of this programme partnership” said J. Christopher Flowers, who chaired the NETSFORLIFE Executive Board until the end of 2011. “NETSFORLIFE shows how great an impact can be made when the private sector partners with faith-based organizations to achieve a common goal. Together, we have been able to reduce illness and save lives in places where malaria used to be the number one cause of death for vulnerable people, especially those with weak immune systems and children under five.”

“The NETSFORLIFE model of combining nets with education and community outreach has proven itself to be wonderfully effective, and I believe it will help move countries toward achieving the targets outlined in the Millennium Development Goals.”

The ‘hang up’ initiative is laudable because giving ITNs with instructions in English, Chinese, or French to people who cannot read or write does not help much.

When ITNs are distributed at health care centres, there is no way to determine if the mother has the capacity to install them neither is consideration given to the number of members in a household and those who sleep on floor mats who have no bed posts to hang them.

Thus, trained volunteers who help with the ‘hang up’ are able to install the ITNs properly to achieve the desired results.

As part of the World Malaria Day celebrations this year, NETSFORLIFE in partnership with Vodafone Ghana, ‘hanged’ one thousand ITNs in households to prevent malaria in Old and New Saasabi and Oyibi near Dodowa in the Greater Accra Region.

The Business Development Manager of NETSFORLIFE, Delia Awusi, explained that after a ‘hang up’ project in any community, the organisation went back after a few months to evaluate the success of the project and added that so far, the surveys had shown a decrease in morbidity and mortality in those communities.

This is corroborated by Shaun Walsh, Executive Director for NETSFORLIFE, who said the programme has led to significant improvement in malaria knowledge and prevention practices.

“Our results show that over 85% of households in areas where we are active now have at least two mosquito nets, compared to 6.3% in our baseline studies. In 2006, only four out of ten people knew what causes malaria, but now, nine out of ten know that malaria is caused by a bite from an infected mosquito.

In our monitoring and evaluation work, we are seeing that community education is leading to positive behaviour change around the use of life-saving malaria nets. Together, nets and education have contributed to an overall reduction of malaria-related deaths by one third in the last decade. However, with over 650,000 people a year still dying from malaria, the fight will continue in earnest”.

By Becce Quaicoe & Becky Kwei


Special Edition