As part of the World Malaria Day celebration, the NetWorks Project launched a net distribution effort today. Nets are being given out at schools across two Local Government Areas (LGA) in Cross Rivers State, Nigeria. Staff project that approximately 21,000 nets will be distributed in this round alone.
The World Malaria Day net distribution is part of a new distribution effort through schools, developed by NetWorks in partnership with health and education officials in Cross Rivers State. This approach was developed in response to planning models that showed that after the universal distribution campaign, net distribution through antenatal care alone could only maintain 20% coverage. However, distributing nets through antenatal care and schools could sustain 75% coverage.
The pilot distribution took place in 2012 and saw eighty-eight public schools distribute 8,444 nets to students and teachers in Obubra Local Government Area (LGA) (population 185,000).
In the first round of distribution, all targeted school children were reached with minimal logistical burden and no loss of nets. By engaging regularly with all stakeholders, gathering commitment from the educational sector and quantifying nets, storing bales and training personnel using existing systems, the program achieved success which planners expect to match in today’s net distribution efforts.
Teachers and health and education staff praised early planning and deep and continuous engagement and collaboration across the two sectors as keys to the pilot’s success.
Distribution of nets through the schools is elegant in its simplicity since many of the necessary elements are in place. Students and their families are already entered into the school registration system, schools have adequate storage facilities, and the educators are highly motivated to take part in malaria prevention.
Planners chose four grade levels at least three years apart to ensure that most households with children would receive at least one LLIN every two to three years. Key stakeholders – government, education, and health leaders – were involved at all stages. Training was performed during regular monthly teacher meetings.
A full evaluation of the school effort will be available in 2014.
Check out a toolkit on continuous distribution, including case studies, guidance, tools, and research from other countries and other types of channels, such as antenatal care, immunization, and community health workers.