Preventing Mosquito Bites
Malaria may be the most important disease in human history. People get infected through the ìbiteî of female mosquitoes, which tend to feed at night. Malaria inflicts a heavy burden on the economies of Africa by placing a great toll on both nutritional and human resources. New research (Murray et al., 2011) has led to the conclusion (Lancet Vol 379) that protection against malaria should be directed toward all members of a community, not just children and pregnant women as previously thought. BHI realized this point early on; and has been providing protection to all members of the community since 2006.
The proper use of insecticide treated bed nets substantially reduces morbidity and mortality associated with malaria and are very effective in the western highlands of Cameroon. Insecticide treated bed nets typically provide more than 50% efficacy in preventing episodes of malaria, a 29% reduction in the number of cases of malaria, and they may reduce childhood mortality by 18%.
Bed nets treated with the insecticide permethrin were distributed to:
- Bawa and Nloh in 2007 and 2008
- Bawa Nka in 2010
- Bawa and Nloh in 2011, replacing old nets with long term “perma nets”, omitting the need for permethrin re-treatment
An additional bed net program has been aimed at:
- Women receiving prenatal and postpartum care at the government health clinic in Nka; resulting in a dramatic increase in the number of women using the clinic for these services.
To gain insight into the effectiveness of the bed net program in Bawa, medical records were obtained from the government health clinic in Nka documenting all visits of residents from the village of Bawa beginning in 2006. These data indicate that morbidity and mortality from malaria have dramatically decreased since implementation of the bed net program.