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Anti-Malaria campaign set to start: Over 5 million Treated Bed Nets for Sierra Leone

HomeHealthAnti-Malaria campaign set to start: Over 5 million Treated Bed Nets for...

Anti-Malaria campaign set to start: Over 5 million Treated Bed Nets for Sierra Leone

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For the first time, a nationwide Malaria campaign to distribute nearly 5.4 million special Insecticide-Treated Nets (ITNs) using a digitised registration system is being rolled out in Sierra Leone.

UNICEF, with $5.3 million from the Global Fund, is supporting the Ministry of Health, along with other partners including the President’s Malaria Initiative, WHO, and the Catholic Relief Services, to address one of the leading causes of morbidity in the country.
Malaria accounts for over two million hospital visits annually, of which one million cases are among children under five years of age.

Among all African countries, Sierra Leone has made the highest rate of progress in reducing under-five mortality by 60 per cent (between 1990 and 2021), with a steep decline of 36 per cent in a space of five years (between 2015 and 2021). At the same time, the country continues to grapple with one of the highest under-five mortality rates globally.

Malaria, a preventable and treatable disease, accounts for 25 percent of child deaths in the country. Simple measures, such as sleeping under ITNs, can save the lives of children and their families.

“Even one child affected by malaria is one too many! We need to protect children and give them a chance to grow up healthy, safe, and free from the burden of this preventable disease,” says Rudolf Schwenk, UNICEF Representative in Sierra Leone.

“UNICEF is working with partners in a concerted effort to cover every child in the country, and especially vulnerable groups, to reach the last child in the last mile.”

Over 400,000 bed nets were distributed to children and families who are most susceptible to malaria during the pilot phase of the programme which was launched in Bo at the end of 2023. The insights gained have been used to strengthen the broader national campaign to reach 15 other districts across the country.

In addition to ongoing efforts, plans are on the way to introduce malaria vaccines procured by UNICEF with nearly $30 million in funding from GAVI, and this was complemented with $180,000 in funding from the Government of Sierra Leone as part of the routine immunization programme this year.

The ITN mass campaign to tackle Malaria in Sierra Leone is the largest ever since 2006.

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