Covering Tanzania: Using Insecticide-Treated Nets Against Malaria

There are people who spend their time
working hands-on in the fight against malaria. You can find them in research labs
and health care facilities. You can also find them in schools. In order to protect Tanzanian families and communities from
malaria, school children and health care workers, have become primary drivers for insecticide-treated nets
for malaria prevention efforts. The National Malaria Control Program is
implementing its third malaria strategic plan. The vision of the plan is to make sure
that we eliminate malaria in Tanzania. That means having a society free from malaria. As part of its strategy to control malaria
and its affects in Tanzania, health service delivery centres and schools
are used as channels to maintain widespread availability of long lasting insecticide-treated nets to households. These efforts are supported by The U.S. President’s Malaria
Initiative and other partners. My name is Waziri Nyoni and I am the Chief of Party
for the VectorWorks project in Tanzania. We operationalize continuous distribution
and it is through 3 main channels, which is distribution of nets through
schools, distribution of nets through health facilities to pregnant women and children under 1 year of age, and then the distribution of nets through private sector. Where people get more options to choose what
types of nets and what types of netting material they want. So through these 3 channels we have
been able to assist the Government of Tanzania, to maintain long lasting insecticide-treated net coverage levels. Malaria claims the life of a child every 2 minutes. According to the 2017 WHO World Malaria Report,
use of insecticide-treated nets has been shown to reduce malaria incident rates by 50%, and to reduce malaria mortality
rates by 55% in children under the age of 5. Every year in order to assess how many nets
we need to distribute we do what we call NetCalc analysis. It’s a mathematical tool which allows us to
estimate how many nets we need to get out every year. So for example last year, through schools alone
we have been able to distribute over 3 million nets and through health facilities
about 500,000 nets have been distributed to pregnant women and children under 1 years old. So what does this get us
in terms of achievements and results? It gets us the annual numbers that we have
been able to push out to maintain coverage levels and without risking the vulnerable groups
in getting malaria. By sharing knowledge and practices
with friends, family members, and patients both health care workers and school children
enable better health for the whole community. My name is Asia.
I am in standard 3 in Buhighwe Primary School. What I love the most about school,
it is the opportunity to learn, I love my teachers, my friends and even the school environment. Tanzania has become one of the first countries
in the world to adopt a continuous distribution model to the supply of insecticide-treated
nets instead of relying on periodic distribution. The U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative supports
the procurement and distribution of insecticide-treated nets as well as technical assistance and capacity building
for the government of Tanzania to manage these programs. Technology is being used to track stock movement
using a real-time mobile and web-based delivery system. At Simba Logistics, we have tried to reach
every corner of Tanzania. The places are very remote
but since the motive is to reach all the people we have come up with a technology
to make sure that every end mile centre gets the nets. We have 2 tracking systems. The first system we track from the warehouse
to the district, then once the consignment has
been delivered to the school or to the health centre we have a mobile application system where
our delivery officer uploads the documents into the system, then everybody can see the data online. To us, Simba Logistics, it is not just
another business, we are giving back to the community, and we feel very happy about it. According to the 2017 WHO World Malaria Report,
nearly 407,000 people across Africa die due to malaria each year. Malaria can cause complications
such as maternal anemia and low birth weight. Infants who sleep under insecticide-treated nets
significantly reduce their chance of exposure to malaria. The U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative-funded
VectorWorks project has supported the government of Tanzania in distributing more than 4.5
million insecticide-treated nets across the country, and they will continue to work with the Tanzanian
government to fight malaria. The U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative is also actively
supporting various interventions in its effort to fight malaria. These includes indoor residual spraying,
entomological monitoring, case management, social behaviour change communication,
supervision, and monitoring and evaluation. The threat of malaria remains, but through these continuous
efforts, strong partnerships and innovative ideas, the future of malaria control in Tanzania
is looking brighter than ever.

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