Malawians shun mosquito nets

Patrick Lunda | 14 Apr 2008
The Daily Times
Malawians rarely use mosquito nets although they are effective in the fight against malaria, a medical officer has observed.

Clinical Officer for Chileka Health Centre in Blantyre Beggie Tembo said this last Friday when Centre for Women and Social Development (CWSD) donated mosquito nets in the area.

CWSD sourced the mosquito nets from their Irish partner.

Tembo added that people's laxity to use mosquito nets in the country was responsible for the high prevalence rate for of malaria.

"Mosquito nets are very effective when it comes to the fight against malaria but Malawians do not take them seriously," Tembo said.

He applauded CWSD for donating the mosquito nets in the area, which has a high prevalence rate for the disease, threatening lives of people in T/A Kuntaja's area in Blantyre.

"I would like to thank Centre for Women and Social Development for deciding to donate these high quality mosquito nets because it will help to reduce the problem of malaria, which is very serious in this area," Tembo said.

He said half of the people who come for treatment at Chileka Health Centre daily are diagnosed with malaria.

Tembo attributed the situation to a number of factors including poor sanitation and long distance to access good medical facilities as the area is located 15km from Chileka Health Centre.

He said the area, being swampy, gave room for the breeding of mosquitoes, which transmit malaria.

CDSC projects officer Princess Sindani said they donated 1,000 nets to three villages of Kamata, Zimba and Kuntaja after a survey they carried showed that people in the area are vulnerable to malaria attack.

"Our main focus is on food security, water and sanitation but we decided to donate the nets because we cannot talk about good water and sanitation if people are not frequently attacked by malaria," Sindani said.

Sindani said the donation was part of a pilot project, which would be extended to 10 villages.

She also disclosed that most people in the area are very poor and as such they could not afford to buy the nets.

T/A Kuntaja, who attended the presentation, appealed to people his area to use the nets.

He advised them against selling the mosquito nets if they were to win the fight against malaria.

As if to prove the severity of malaria in the area, one child collapsed after a bout with malaria during the function and was rushed to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital.