NetWorks rolls out treated bed nets distribution

Mosquito netNetWorks, a global project for the prevention of malaria is implementing a nationwide continuous distribution strategy for Long Lasting Insecticidal Treated Nets (LLINs) in Ghana

The project being executed in collaboration with the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) and the Ghana Education Service will roll out the “Bed Net Distribution” which kicked off in the first week of July and is ongoing in nine regions.

The Eastern Region will be covered in the third week of July.

A statement issued by Felix Nyanor-Fosu, Technical Director of NetWorks-Ghana said the nationwide distribution will cover all public and private primary school pupils in class two and class six.

Distribution of LLINs to pregnant women and children due for second measles booster dose through health facilities is also being implemented.

Churches and mosques are among other constituencies that will serve as conduits for information dissemination to communities.

NetWorks is a comprehensive and innovative programme to build sustainable LLIN distribution systems that bridge the key technical areas of advocacy, policy, distribution, monitoring, and communications for increased LLIN access and use in malaria endemic countries.

LLINs are essential tools for malaria prevention and continuous distribution of the nets is a critical strategy in achieving and sustaining malaria control.

NetWorks Ghana has been in existence for eight months and is set to end its operations in 2014. Its partners include the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and Ghana Education Service.

Since 2010, GHS, NMCP and development partners have been working towards reducing malaria related maternal and infant mortality by ensuring that all children under five years, pregnant women and subsequently everybody own and sleep under an LLIN every night.

To achieve this, more than 12 million LLINs have been distributed through mass free door-to-door distribution campaigns with volunteers hanging the LLINs in households.

The distribution has provided approximately one LLIN for every two people in an effort to achieve universal coverage.

The campaigns have dramatically increased LLIN ownership and use in Ghana.

To sustain the gains made with the door-to-door distribution and hang up of LLINs, health partners are facilitating the implementation of a continuous enhanced routine LLIN distribution strategy, which aims at targeting various population groups.

Networks Ghana since 2012 has been assisting the NMCP to distribute LLINs through health facilities and primary schools nationwide.

The health facility distribution is through Ante Natal Clinics (ANC) to pregnant women at first ANC visit and Child Welfare Clinics (CWC) to children from 18 months of age when they receive their measles booster vaccination.

The primary school distribution is targeting all pupils in Class two and Class six.

NetWorks activity areas cover, policy and advocacy, LLIN distribution through health facilities and schools, and behaviour change communication and community mobilisation.

NetWorks-Ghana is currently working to lay a solid foundation for routine distribution of LLINs through ANC and EPI and yearly distribution through schools.

Ghana has in the past implemented a mixed model of net distribution; through a targeted subsidy voucher programme targeting pregnant women and children under five years visiting ANC and CWC clinics, through mass immunisation campaigns, NGO and corporate distributions, and commercial sales.

These channels however were not enough to achieve the levels of scale-up required.

Nyanor-Fosu notes: “All partners and stakeholders are expected to perform their roles diligently and ensure that the right quantities of LLINs are delivered at the right time to the right facility for project goals to be achieved.”

“The distribution process involves the timely movement of consignments for both health facilities and schools from the central medical stores by partners.  Any delays in the movement are bound to impact negatively on our activities.

“I hope that the schools will play their social mobilisation role and rally whole communities around the LLINs. To ensure that they are hanged and utilised to prevent mosquito bites when one is sleeping,” he added.

NetWorks is a project funded by USAID and implemented by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Malaria Consortium and Catholic Relief Services.

Source: GNA

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