Malawi Govt to distribute nine million mosquito nets in Malaria fight

The Government of Malawi will provide treated bed nets to half of its 18 million population in a bid to eliminate Malaria by 2030.

The Minister of Health and Population, Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, disclosed this on Thursday in Salima during the commemoration of Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Malaria Day and the launch of the 2021 bed nets distribution mass campaign.

Chiponda said the government will ensure that “each of the targeted nine million citizens share their bed net with another person which will eventually protect at least the entire nation from Malaria”.

Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda cutting a ribbon to launch the bed net distribution and being briefed at a pavilion

The government will implement the 2021 bed nets distribution mass campaign with support from various local and international development partners that include; World Vision Malawi, Global Fund and UNICEF.

The beneficiaries are reportedly expected to use the bed nets for the next three to five years.

Chiponda said Malaria still remains one of the main public health threats, which requires concerted efforts in Malawi and the SADC region in order to be eliminated.

“That is why, at the three day SADC ministers conference held in Lilongwe just before this event, Malaria was one of the main issues under discussion. Strategies were discussed of ensuring that Malaria is no longer a public health threat by 2030.

“Africa spends about 12 billion dollars on Malaria annually. There are 400,000 Malaria induced deaths in the SADC region annually. So, as SADC member states, we are coming together to ensure that we fight Malaria head-on,” said Chiponda.

Member states delegates to Thursday’s events in Salima, were led by SADC Executive Secretary, His Excellency Mr. Elias Mpedi Magosi.

A similar mosquito nets distribution mass campaign was last done in 2018 where the Government of Malawi, through the Ministry of Health and the Global Fund, entrusted World Vision to distribute about 10.9 million bed nets to Malawians to prevent Malaria.

World Vision Malawi Chief of Party, Bizwick Mwale, said, after the mass campaign, the organization saved money and Ministry of Health and the Global Fund allowed it to pilot the Indoor Residual Spray (IRS) in Mangochi District.

IRS intervention, according to Mwale, aims at reducing Malaria incidences by killing indoor-resting mosquitoes that carry malaria-causing mosquitos.

“Since we started the IRS Campaign in 2019 in Mangochi district, children’s lives in the district have been saved. The district was recording 380 cases of Malaria out of every 1,000 people. In 2020, this fell to 254 and today, the district is at 183 which is way ahead of the national target for 2022.

“Based on these milestones, the Global Fund provided more funding and the project was in 2020 scaled up to Balaka and Nkhata Bay districts where preliminary results show some good progress too,” said Mwale.

According to Mwale, the 2021 IRS campaign commenced on 18 October in Balaka District and on 25 October in Mangochi and Nkhata Bay districts and will run for 36 days.

“As of 9th November 2021, (Day 20 of the IRS Campaign), almost 245,000 eligible structures were identified in the 3 districts and out of these 228,000 structures /houses have already been sprayed out of a total target of 539,000 eligible structures for the whole Campaign.

“This represents 42.3%and we are on course to meet the target of covering at least 85% of the targeted structures houses. At the end of the IRS Campaign, about 2.5 million people including women and children are expected to be protected from Malaria,” said Mwale.

In his remarks, SADC Executive Secretary Magosi implored member states to put together their strategies, resources, efforts, attributes and behaviours in order to eliminate Malaria across the region.

“Member states should also ensure that the policies and strategies and regulations are aligned to the regional approach so that all of them are actually acting accordingly. Resources need to be put to good use.

“There is also the need for more partnerships with all international cooperating partners so that they provide the resources to member states. As SADC secretariat, we will provide further strategies and tools to help member states to achieve their 2030 targets on elimination of Malaria,” Mogosi said.

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