UNICEF starts anti-malaria program in Mozambique

A large scale anti-malaria bednet program conducted by UNICEF is currently underway in Mozambique.

Malaria is considered the biggest killer of children in Africa. Approximately, 600,000 children die from infection every year. In Mozambique, 3,500 children die every day because of the mosquito-borne infection. Pregnant women and young children are extremely vulnerable because of weakened immune systems.

UNICEF is hoping to dramatically change the impact of malaria in Mozambique by providing free mosquito netting and education to those in need.

Nurse Sonia Tomocene speaks to small gatherings about malaria prevention. Using an illustrated teaching manual, she explains to young children and pregnant women how to properly use a mosquito bednet.

“People realize that it works,” Tomocene said. “By doing more to protect themselves against mosquitoes, they can reduce the chances of becoming sick.”

Tomocene graduated as a nurse five months ago and is now in charge of a small but busy clinic in a rural village in Mozambique. She sees more than 30 patients every day.

Last year, malaria cases in the Gorgongora District dropped by over one-fifth after the distribution of 70,000 nets at no cost to the population. The program is now a national policy being implemented across the country.

“There is always a danger that some nets will be used for fishing or other purposes,” Gorgongora District Preventative Health Officer Amir Abibo Chear said. “The proof that the majority of nets are being used properly is that we have less sick people coming to the clinic and in need of treatment.”