NetsforLifeSM, a partnership for malaria prevention, is expanding to a total of 15 countries in sub-Saharan Africa in 2007. The three-year partnership, which builds knowledge and awareness about the transmission, treatment and prevention of malaria, began in 2006 with corporate and individual sponsors. NetsforLifeSM will distribute at least one million long-lasting insecticide-treated nets in 16 countries, with priority given to pregnant women and children under five. So far, 181,000 nets have been distributed. Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) and Christian Aid are the implementing partners of this initiative.
Of the one to three million people worldwide who die of malaria every year, 90 percent live in sub-Saharan Africa. NetsforLifeSM targets MDGs 1, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8 and was launched in eight countries in 2006 including Angola, Zambia, Kenya, Ghana and Burundi. This year, the program will start in seven addition countries including Botswana, Liberia, Madagascar and Zimbabwe.
"In 2006, almost all the countries exceeded their targets, indicating a good community response and a high spirit of volunteerism to the NetsforLifeSM program in general," stated Stephen Dzisi, ERD's Program Officer for Africa. "Some of the lessons learned over the past year include the benefits of consultation and involvement of governments, at both national and local levels in the program, and the advantages of community empowerment through capacity building for program sustainability."
Baseline results from 2006 indicate that NetsforLifeSM is reaching out to remote communities at the 'end of the road' where access to health services is limited. "An average of only 31% of respondents in the program can access health care services within the 8 km distance recommended by the World Health Organization," said Dzisi. "NetsforLifeSM is well positioned to empower communities to recognize symptoms and signs of malaria at the early stages and institute prompt and effective treatment at home before traveling to seek care at the nearest health facility."
Coca-Cola Africa Foundation teams with NetsforLifeSM
The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation recently joined the NetsforLifeSM partnership. The foundation, which was created in 2001, supports health care and other needs in countries throughout Africa.
The foundation has committed $1 million to support the malaria program for the next two years. Other NetsforLifeSM corporate sponsors include Standard Chartered Bank, ExxonMobil Foundation and Starr Foundation.
Further information on NetsforLifeSM is available here.