NetsforLife® World Malaria Day Kickoff: The Largest Net-Hanging Campaign in History

April 21, 2010

On April 25, 2010, the international community will reaffirm its commitment to fighting malaria by commemorating World Malaria Day. 

NetsforLife® will mark the occasion on April 26 in Accra, Ghana, by participating in a World Malaria Day event and the Health Summit led by Ghana’s Ministry of Health. The following day, NetsforLife® will celebrate the largest-ever net-hanging and education campaign, continuing to work towards the goal of distributing up to 7 million long-lasting insecticide-treated (LLITNs) nets in 17 sub-Saharan African countries by 2013.

Through this particular initiative, one million nets will be distributed in northern and eastern Ghana, where malaria-control agents will go door to door, hanging up nets with community members. This distribution, which is just one element of NetsforLife®’s multi-pronged approach to combat malaria, is made possible in partnership with the Anglican Diocesan Development and Relief Office (ADDRO), the Ghana Health Service and the National Malaria Control Program.

“This campaign will be revolutionary in Ghana, where malaria is the number one cause of illness and responsible for the one-third of deaths in children under the age of five,” said Stephen Dzisi, Technical Director for NetsforLife®. “The campaign also reflects the unique nature of theNetsforLife® partnership model, because the funding for this largest-ever net hang-up comes from a wide variety of sources.”

The President’s Malaria Initiative/USAID, MalariaNoMore UK and Comic Relief are all supporting the monumental effort. Distribution will occur in partnership with the Ghana Health Service, which targets communities in Ghana that are the most difficult to reach.

This initiative will combine net distribution with education designed to promote “net culture,” a community-wide understanding of the protective value of nets and the right way to use and maintain them. Helping a net culture take hold will benefit even those who do not receive nets, because individuals are often moved to get their own nets as the message about net use becomes pervasive in a community. It is estimated that for every 10 nets distributed by NetsforLife® another community member will secure their own net.

“This campaign is history in the making,” said Rob Radtke, President of Episcopal Relief & Development. “To deliver a million nets and inspire collective action in these communities is an amazing accomplishment. Episcopal Relief & Development is proud to provide leadership asNetsforLife® and its partners continue this important work to fight malaria.”

In 2009, the General Convention of the Episcopal Church renewed not only its commitment to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, but also specifically committed to raising $5 million in the triennium through Episcopal Relief & Development’s NetsforLife® Inspiration Fund campaign.

To learn more about Episcopal Relief & Development’s work or to support the NetsforLife®Inspiration Fund, please visit www.episcopalrelief.org or call 1-800-334-7626, ext. 5129. Gifts can be mailed to Episcopal Relief & Development, PO Box 7058, Merrifield, VA 22116-7058. Please write “NetsforLife® Inspiration Fund” in the memo line of all checks.

NetsforLife® is a partnership of corporations, foundations and faith-based organizations working to eliminate malaria in Africa. The program partnership, which has benefited, directly and indirectly, more than 18 million people to date, includes ExxonMobil, Standard Chartered Bank, the Coca-Cola Africa Foundation, Starr International Foundation, the White Flowers Foundation and Episcopal Relief & Development.

Episcopal Relief & Development is the international relief and development agency of the Episcopal Church of the United States and an independent 501(c)(3) organization. The agency takes its mandate from Jesus’ words found in Matthew 25. Its programs work towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Together with the worldwide Church and ecumenical partners, Episcopal Relief & Development strengthens communities today to meet tomorrow’s challenges. We rebuild after disasters and empower people by offering lasting solutions that fight poverty, hunger and disease, including HIV/AIDS and malaria.

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