National ITN launch takes place in Mpika District

The malaria mosquito is active at nighttime. One of the most effective defences against the mosquito bite, therefore, is to sleep under a treated mosquito net. The mosquito, attracted by the warmth and breath of an individual, lands on the net and picks up the insecticide that will kill her.

Zambia’s National Malaria Programme has distributed millions of insecticide-treated mosquito nets, or ITNs, since 2002. The challenge now is to maintain the high coverage of nets and increase usage—i.e., ensure that the distributed nets are hanging in households and encourage people to sleep under them every night. The most recent national survey showed that when older nets are not replenished malaria can quickly rebound. This was particularly seen in Luapula and Northern Provinces. That is why the national programme chose Mpika District for the 2011 national launch for the ITN distribution.

Millions of mosquito nets have been distributed over the years, and more are expected in 2011. New Ministry of Health guidelines for mass distribution call for ITN delivery at household level (as opposed to carrying it out at central distribution points). Door-to-door distribution involves trained community health workers going to a home and, after identifying the need for nets at a house, supplying new or replacement nets and finally assisting the family in hanging the nets. Household distribution is a lot of work but it yields greater use of this lifesaving intervention.

 

Dr. Christopher Kalila
Deputy Minister of Health, Dr. Christopher Kalila, officially launching the 2011 ITN distribution campaign.

Mpika Poetry
Pupils from Mpika performing poetry, song and dance to sensitise people on preventing malaria by sleeping under a mosquito net every night of the year.

Amayenge Cultural Ensemble
The Amayenge Cultural Ensemble entertaining the large crowd with malaria songs.

ITN poster
An ITN poster at the national launch site near Chikakala Rural Health Centre, Mpika District.