DR Congo

DRC launches distribution campaign for 13.7 million insecticide-treated nets

Democratic republic of Congo, Lubumbashi, April 25, 2012 - The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and its partners move forward in the fight against malaria. In Lubumbashi, Katanga Province, the Government launched today a major campaign for the distribution of insecticide-treated long-lasting nets (LLINs). More than 24,660,000 million people, including 4.5 million children under 5 years and 1,250,000 million pregnant women, will benefit from the distribution which will have covered until the beginning of June in the provinces of Katanga, Bandundu, and North and South Kivu.

"The universal distribution of LLINs will allow us to protect our families and significantly reduce the mortality of children under 5 and pregnant women. Malaria is the leading cause of morbidity for these vulnerable people in our province, "said Moise Katumbi, Governor of Katanga province, at the launch of the campaign.

The vast operation was possible thanks to funding to UNICEF from the World Bank through its projects PARSS PURUS / UCOP for a value of US$ 71.9 million and PMI-USAID with US$ 12.2 million. The World Food Program, the NGO ALBA and other NGO-partners provided logistical support and transport. Through this partnership, 13.7 million LLINs will be distributed for free to over 4,650,000 households at a rate of one to four nets per family, according to the household size.

According to the 2010 Report of the World Health Organization (WHO) on malaria, this disease is responsible for 216 million malaria-episodes per year worldwide, including 81% in sub-Saharan Africa or 174 million cases. In 2010 an estimated 655.000 people died from malaria, including 91 % in Africa. Worldwide 86 % of deaths due to malaria affected children under five years of age. In DRC, where the rate of infant mortality is with 158 per 1,000 live births among the highest in the world, 8.757,011 cases and 180.358 deaths were registered among children under five years in 2011.

The daily use of mosquito nets is a simple and effective way to prevent mosquito bites that transmit malaria. Since DRC has adopted the universal distribution of LLINs as a major strategy to fight malaria, significant progress has been made. Indeed, the latest multiple indicator cluster survey (MICS 2010) showed a net increase of households in possession of a LLIN. Their number rose from 10% in 2007 to 51% in 2010. Over the same period the prevalence of fever, the principal symptom of malaria has decreased from 31% to 27%.

"The reduction of malaria in DRC's is vital. It has a positive impact on the survival and development of Congolese children, and represents a step towards the eradication of this disease in Africa, "said Barbara Bentein, UNICEF Representative in DRC; ”All children have the same right to health. Together we can make this right a reality in the DRC. "

UNICEF and its partners, including the World Bank, USAID and WHO, have joined forces with the Government of DRC in this campaign which aims to protect the population against malaria to save the lives of Congolese children.

In the coming weeks, the National Program against Malaria (PNLP) will continue together with its partners, to reach out to households in the recipient provinces (Bandundu, Katanga, North and South Kivu) in order to sensitize them on the proper use of insecticide-treated nets. The principal religious confessions of DRC work with UNICEF in the transmission of key messages related to health and essential family practices.

About Roll Back Malaria (RBM)

The RBM Partnership is a global framework for coordinated action against malaria. It provides a neutral platform for consensus and the development of solutions on outstanding challenges in the implementation of malaria control interventions and strategies relating thereto. It keeps malaria at top of the global agenda via a harmonization and amplification of advocacy initiatives by partners. Building on the expertise, resources and commitment of over 500 member organizations, the political leadership of this partnership secures a financial and technical support for efforts at country-level.

For more information please contact

Dr Atua Benjamin, Director of the National Program against Malaria (NMCP), Tel: 243 998 217 243, atuabenjamin@gmail.com

Dr. Jean Mantshumba Caurent National Professional Officer / Malaria / WHO Tel: +243 7006412 mantshumbaj@cd.afro.who.int

Brother Jean-Jacques, Head of Health Sector / World Bank, Tel: +243 815657974, jfrere@worldbank.org

José Tchofa, Malaria Technical Advisor / USAID, Tel: +243 818303181, jtchofa@usaid.org

Celestino Costa, Program Leader Survival / UNICEF: Tel: +243 815119781, ccosta@unicef.org

Cornelia Walther, Head of Advocacy Program / UNICEF: Tel: +243 818846746, cwalther@unicef.org