Malawi govt to distribute 9 million mosquito nets to contain malaria: US withdraw drugs

Malawi government decision to distribute 9 million mosquito nets has ignited a fresh debate on whether this system is an effective way of dealing with malaria, a disease blamed for the high rate of under five children deaths.

Maziko Matemba, executive director of the Health and Rights Education Programme: Mosquito nets shpould not be used as  fish nets

Maziko Matemba, executive director of the Health and Rights Education Programme: Mosquito nets shpould not be used as fish nets

Adrian Chikumbe, ministry of Health spokesperson is urging families to register with officials to ensure they get a mosquito net.

He says the mosquito nets will be distributed across the country.

Health issue commentator Maziko Matemba welcomes the move but cautions that the government should ensure some men are not using the nets to catch fish.

At least 4:6 million people suffered from malaria in Malawi most of them under five children and pregnant women.

The distribution of the nets comes at a time when there is severe shortage of malaria drugs in hospitals.

However, some health experts are calling on the government to roll out an ambitious but effective programme to spray DDT in all mosquito breeding places, saying this has been effective in Botswana and South Africa, among some countries in Africa which record zero malaria rate.

They argue that most Malawians get malaria not when they are in bed where the nets are used but before bed time this is why the malaria rate infection still remains high despite the government effort to give out free mosquito nets which helps to give a sound sleep without mosquito bites but it’s not the effective way of controlling the killer disease.

However, DDT banned in Malawi because agriculture experts say it remains in soil for many years after use and has negative effect on croos, including Malawuls top foreign export earner, tobacco.

Hard choice for government to make.

Meanwhile, after the suspension of 63 Ministry of Health workers over alleged misuse of funds meant for Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funded HIV project, the US government has suspended the supply of malaria drugs and support to some 10 centres, citing theft and mismanagement.

The US, through its Public Affair Officer at the American Embassy in Malawi, Joseph Monster, is quoted in the Daily Times saying:“…We have identified 10 facilities where reported cases of malaria are far exceeded by the doses of anti-malarial medications distributed and have notified the Ministry of Health that additional malaria-related medicines and supplies will not be provided to those facilities until the Ministry takes concrete steps to curb theft and mismanagement.”

He stressed that the appropriate steps the ministry has to take before the drug supply resumes includes “both disciplinary action and prosecution where sufficient evidence exists”, which means the Ministry has to move quickly to catch the thieves or risk unnecessary malaria deaths in the 10 facilities.

Monster said the US government continues to be concerned with the theft and mismanagement of medical supplies and medicines meant to benefit the people of Malawi.

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7 thoughts on “Malawi govt to distribute 9 million mosquito nets to contain malaria: US withdraw drugs”

  1. Concerned health provider says:

    There should be no debate al all about whether a mosquito net, used correctly, prevents malaria, and Nyasa Times should be in the forefront to advance this information. Mosquito nets do not completely eliminate malaria, but wherever they are used, the numbers of people suffering from malaria significantly drop, as well as deaths from malaria. Just having a bednet hanging in your house can kill mosquitoes or prevent them from entering the house, even if you are not sleeping under it constantly. Malaria also has a major role to play in pregnant women having sick and premature babies. People living in Malawi must be taught to use the bednets effectively, to sew up holes immediately when they occur, to edge their sleeping mats with some sort of protective material so the nets don’t tear easily, and to understand that long lasting insecticide treated bednets (not all are long lasting) have medicine in them to repel mosquitoes for five years, even if there are holes and even if the nets are washed. They should feel free to ask the community health nurses or other health providers about any questions they have about bed net use, such as the false idea that the nets somehow contain contraceptives. People producing and distributing bednets should provide very inexpensive small kits to repair holes in the bednets as soon as they occur and also work hard to address reasons why people don’t use their bed nets. Families should plan for the unavoidable travel (funerals, weddings, etc.) that cause their children and pregnant mothers to sleep without bednets. I have the daily unhappy opportunity to see hundreds of sick children with malaria, many of whom die in spite of our best efforts, and who will never contribute to the well being of their loving families or of Malawi. The effects of reduced school performance are also very, very important, as well as the costs to each family and government to treat millions of cases of malaria each year. Every one of us has the ability to use a bednet daily and do our part to help ourselves, our families and our country to end this horrible illness.

  2. Mark Saoneka says:

    I think the best way the US shud do is to continue giving the aid while Malawi gvt is catching and prosecuting the thieves. Its not good idea to punish local poor Malawians for the wrongs of few unconsiderate officers at Capital Hill, pliz think otherwise.

  3. Tonde says:

    Kodi mbwezera chitetezo tikamupeza kuti? I need that shit for my big china made mosquito net

  4. we will die forsure how could these people killing season

  5. Monitoring specialist says:

    Distributing mosquito nets is waste of time and money. I was involved in an NGO distributing nets and once compiled records of how many nets ministry of health and other NGOS have been distributing. More than 30 million is conservative estimate and these are long lasting nets, taking 5 years or so to perish. We have only 15 million people in Malawi so even if each was using one net and not sharing, there are already 2 nets per person. Is it any wonder some use the nets for fishing or gardening or as screens for toilets? There are too many nets, do not distribute more, maybe 1 or 2 million to replace those damaged but the damaged ones should be shown and collected from users first. Regarding Malaria drugs, where are they going? Who is eating them? If they are shifting from public to private hospitals, well Malawians are still using them. Too may local clinics opened by almost everybody who can spell malaria and treatment. Too bad, medical councils should do something.

  6. tvendort says:

    Koma azungu awa mxiiiii

  7. Funzo says:

    Corruption harms the population but still it goes on, led by those who are more concerned about the sins of homosexuality and lining their own pockets than the plight of the people. Malawi will forever suffer until governance is efficient and honest.

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