MANNEKA children club ministry starts the battle against MALARIA! by distributing long lasting insectide treated nets to poor families in Monrovia and in Bomi County

 

Liberia, country profile

Liberia is located on the west coast of Arica with a land area of 110,080 km and a coastline of 560 km along the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Sierra Leone to the west, Guinea to the northwest, and Cote d’ Ivoire to the northeast and the east. Most of the country lies below 500 meters in altitude; rain forest and swampy areas are common features. The climate is suitable for malaria transmission throughout the year in almost all parts of the country. During the main rainy season – July to September – temperatures average 24.5C and rise to 26.5C in December and January when it is predominantly dry. Rainfall in the coastal areas where the capital, Monrovia, lies is over 5000 mm per annum; however, this decreases as one moves inland to as little as 2,000 mm. Average humidity is about 72% (M.O.H 2001)

 

Background on malaria in Liberia

Although it is preventable and curable, malaria remains a major public health problem in Liberia, taking its greatest toll on young children and pregnant women. Malaria is the leading cause of attendance at out patient departments (38%) and is also the number one cause of in- patient deaths. Hospital records surest that al least 43% op in-patient deaths are attributable to malaria (NMCP 2006) This health problem was exacerbated by 15 years of civil conflict that resulted in large population displacements as well as damage to health systems. In an effort to reduce the malaria burden in Liberia, the ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW) introduced a policy and strategic plan for malaria control and prevention. This plan is in line with the Abuja Declaration which the Government of Liberia signed in April 2000. The measures laid out in the National strategic plan are attempts to fulfill WHO’s roll back malaria objective of reducing malaria morbidity by 50 % by the year 2010. As part of this plan the MOGSW has endorsed the use of more effective drugs for treatment in Liberia – Artesunate plus Amodiaguine (ACT) – as well as preventive measures such as intermittent preventive treatment (IPT) for pregnant women and the use of insecticide –treated nets.

 

Why Manneka children club ministry is distributing mosquito nets under poor families in Monrovia and Bomi County?

The 2009 survey by the National Malaria Control reported that 53% of the households in Liberia have no mosquito net. (treated or untreated) and that still malaria accounts for more than 70% of infant mortality deaths. Wealth seems to influence household ownership of mosquito nets. The wealthiest households are almost twice as likely to own a mosquito net as those in the poorest wealth quintile. During our weekly children club activities the Manneka children club teachers often get in contact with children who have high fever and malaria symptoms. As many children coming from very poor families living from less than 1 USD a day ,their parents can not afford to buy a PERMANET, long lasting insectide treated net (LLINs) for the cost price of 10 USD

 

What is Malaria?

Malaria is caused by a parasite called plasmodium which is carried by a type of night-biting mosquito present in most tropical and subtropical areas below 2000 meter. When an infected female mosquito bites you, malarial parasites are injected into your bloodstream and get carried to your liver, where they multiply. During this phase you don’t get any symptoms. Symptoms appear when the malarial parasites enter your bloodstream again, which occurs after a variable length of time depending on the type of malaria (usually about one to three weeks). The malarial parasites enter and multiply in red blood cells, eventually destroying them. This can have effects on many organs in your body including your guts (causing vomiting and diarrhea) kidneys and brain. If not treated, malaria can quickly become life-threatening by disrupting the blood supply to vital organs. If drugs are not available for treatment or if the parasites are resistant to them, the infection can lead to coma, severe life-threatening anemia, and death by infecting and destroying red blood cells and by clogging the capillaries that carry blood to the brain (cerebral malaria) or other vital organs.

 

One of the Key interventions to control malaria is the use of a long lasting insectide treated net (LLINs)

LLINs are an effective means of malaria prevention in stable contexts, where their regular use has been shown to reduce malaria illness by up to 50% in children under 5. LLINs work by killing or repelling nighttime biting mosquitoes that transmit malaria.  The nets are impregnated by insecticides that have been approved by the World Health Organization Pesticide Evaluation Scheme (WHOPES). These LLINs have been shown to last through 20 washes and depending on the living conditions last somewhere in the region of three years before replacement is required.

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