Mozambique’s Ministry of Health has promised that half of the country’s population will receive at least one mosquito net by August 2017 under a new campaign to be launched in September. During the campaign, 16 million nets will be distributed by the ministry in a concerted effort to reduce the incidence of malaria.
Cited in the daily newspaper “Diario de Mocambique”, the national director of public health, Francisco Mbofana, said that the nets will be distributed simultaneously throughout the country. The campaign will be opened in the northern provinces of Nampula and Niassa before being launched nationwide.
Mbofana explained that most of the cost will be borne by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria through a 20 million US dollar donation. However, the government will finance the cost of distributing the nets.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of his ministry’s coordinating council, which is taking place in the central city of Beira, Mbofana added that he was concerned about the improper use of mosquito nets. Therefore the campaign will have a component that focusses on informing people about the importance of the correct usage of the nets.
He added that one of the advantages of running such a widespread campaign is that it disrupts the resale of the donated nets. However, he recognised that changing people’s behaviour remains a big challenge.
Questioned about the incidence of malaria, Mbofana stated that Zambezia remains the province with the highest number of cases and that the centre and north of the country are worst affected by the disease.
Mbofana added, “we recognise that we have had some difficulty in implementing preventative methods such as the use of nets and spraying to control mosquitos. In Mozambique, we have not had one hundred per cent coverage of these two methods. However, in this campaign that we are launching in September, we will cover the entire country with one of these methods”.
The health official also noted that climate change has led to an increase in the mosquito population.
In April, it was revealed that, although the number of reported cases of malaria in Mozambique increased in 2015, there was a substantial decline in mortality from the disease. There were 6,418,516 cases of malaria registered in 2015, compared with 5,820,340 in 2014 – an increase of just over ten per cent. However, in 2015 there were about 2,400 deaths from malaria (most of them children), which is a decline of 26 per cent on the 2014 figure of 3,245.