ABIDJAN, Côte d'Ivoire — In November PSI’s platform in Cote d’Ivoire delivered over 785,000 long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets (LLINs) to mothers of children ages 9 months to five years during the country’s first ever integrated campaign. In a country with over 20 million inhabitants, there are more than seven million cases of malaria, 18,000 of which are result in death among children under five die each year (WHO 2008). A 2006 WHO study has shown that only 6% of households across the country own an insecticide-treated bed net.
During the campaign, mothers and caregivers with children hugged tightly in tow waited in line at vaccination sites for their children to receive free LLINs, measles vaccines, doses of vitamin A and de-worming tablets. The campaign was the culmination of many months of hard work by several organizations under the leadership of the Ministry of Health, including local, international and faith-based organizations. Partners included the National Program for Malaria, National Vaccination Program, National Infant Health Program, National Nutrition Program, PSI, UNICEF, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Foundation, MAP International, Helen Keller International, CARE, the United Methodist Church and the Church of Latter-Day Saints.
With funding from the United Methodist Church-Texas Conference, United Nations Foundation and NothingbutNets, PSI/CI pre-positioned over 785,000 LLINs in 18 of the 72 health districts in the country, reaching an estimated 3,000 vaccination sites. Many of the vaccination sites were located in far flung rural communities which required complex logistics to reach via difficult and muddy roads. In addition to LLIN distribution, PSI/CI provided technical and communication assistance to campaign partners, including the United Methodist Church, which PSI assisted in training local social mobilization supervisors and volunteers.
The individual roles and collaboration of each partner implicated in the malaria component was essential to the successful implementation of the integrated campaign. The United Methodist Church, which raised over $1 million for the purchase of LLINs, trained local supervisors and volunteers prior to the campaign. Additionally, thirty-five of its members from Texas arrived in Cote d’Ivoire to volunteer and helped hand-deliver LLINs to children at vaccination sites. NothingbutNets and the United Nations Foundation also provided LLINs and support to PSI for the campaign.
The success of Cote d’Ivoire’s first-ever national integrated campaign could not have been achieved without the close collaboration and cooperation among all partners. While the Ministry of Health is still validating results, LLIN coverage rates ranged from 96 to 103%. PSI will follow the campaign with communication messages to promote net utilization and track increased net coverage in distribution zones. Whether through integrated health campaigns such as this one or through health centers, PSI/CI continues to provide LLINs to children under five across the country and aims to lower the nationwide incidence of the deadly disease.
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