For Immediate Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced a five year $100 million grant to The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Center for Communication Programs (CCP), with the Malaria Consortium and Catholic Relief Services to ensure the distribution and proper use of long-lasting insecticide treated bed nets (LLINs) in malaria endemic countries. USAID missions across Africa and in parts of Asia are expected to buy into the project.
USAID implements U.S. Global Malaria Programs through the President's Malaria Initiative (PMI) focused in 15 focus countries in Africa and through four non-focus countries; the Amazon Malaria Initiative, which covers eight countries in the Amazon Basin of South America; and the Mekong Malaria Program, which covers five countries (plus Yunnan Province, China) in the Greater Mekong Sub-region in Southeast Asia.
"The U.S. is dramatically expanding the availability and use of insecticide-treated mosquito nets in Africa," said Rear. Adm. Tim Ziemer, Coordinator, U.S. Global Malaria Programs. "During this massive effort to scale up to universal coverage, including in some of the most hard-to-reach places on the planet, we must also build local capacity to manage delivery systems and create a culture of net use, getting everyone to sleep under nets."
Long-lasting insecticide treated nets (LLINs) are an essential tool for achieving and sustaining malaria control. The ability to efficiently and effectively distribute nets and increase their use is critical to reducing the burden of malaria and maintaining control of the disease in endemic countries. The new project, called NetWorks, will rely on a flexible approach that will rapidly analyze the current situation, coordinate between local, regional and national players in malaria control, strengthen internal distribution networks and, at the same time, increase demand using state-of-the-art behavior change techniques to close the gap between net ownership and use. The project intends to promote a mixed distribution model to flexibly respond to the situation in each country, blending distribution via the private sector, public health facilities, NGOs and mass campaigns. The hope is that ultimately the project will leave countries with sustainable LLIN systems that ensure a continuous and coordinated supply of nets for those who need them.
Matthew Lynch, PhD, NetWorks' Project Director and leader of CCP's Global Program on Malaria, says the ability to get LLIN's to those most vulnerable to deadly malaria-young children and pregnant women-is critical to controlling the disease. "In the global fight against malaria, we desperately need new ways to better protect children," Lynch says. "We need to make sure every vulnerable child sleeps under a net every night."
JHU will partner with the Malaria Consortium and Catholic Relief Services as well as hundreds of local partners in the implementation of NetWorks.
With representatives in more than 30 countries, CCP designs and implements strategic communication programs that influence political dialogue, collective action, and individual behavior change; enhances access to information and the exchange of knowledge to improve health and health care; and conducts research to guide program design, evaluate impact, and advance knowledge and practice in health communication.
For more information about USAID and PMI, please visit www.usaid.gov.
Last updated: February 28, 2012