Bed Nets for All

IMA kicks off a massive distribution of 700,000 nets, which will cover the entire province of North Ubangi in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Bed Nets for All Community Theater

A community theater group educates attendees on the importance of sleep under a net to prevent malaria. (Photo credit: IMA World Health/Crystal Stafford)

In DRC, over 400 children die every day and almost half of them from malaria.

— World Health Organization

Earlier this month, the IMA Malaria Team kicked off a massive bed net distribution in the province of North Ubangi. Over the next two months, IMA (funded by the UK’s Department for International Development)) will work with government and community volunteers to hang more than  700,000 long lasting insecticidal nets donated by the Against Malaria Foundation. In order to do this, the team will visit over 200,000 households and hang nets over every sleeping space they find.

Building local capacity to fight malaria

To kick off the distribution, the IMA Malaria team trained 24 local doctors and community health workers on data collection using Open Data Kit software on Android cell phones. The distribution supervisors were also trained in basic computing and data management using Excel. These newly trained supervisors will travel far and wide across the province to share their skills with over 3,000 community volunteers. These volunteers will be the backbone of the distribution, hanging nets in every household.

Using smartphone technology for data collection and education

The Android phones will be used to collect basic demographic data and information on malaria prevalence and bed net usage. The phones will also be used to play an educational/instructional video, recorded in the local tribal language, on the importance of bed net usage to prevent malaria and how to care for and repair nets.

Increasing transparency and accountability

Bed Nets for All Supervisor

A newly trained distribution supervisor practices using the Android cellphone for data collection in a nearby village. (Photo credit: IMA World Health/Crystal Stafford)

The ODK software will capture GPS coordinates for every net hung as well as a photo with the beneficiary. This information will be used to create an interactive map. Donors can click on any point and see the location and photo of the nets, resting assured that the nets are going to the intended population.

Ensuring high rates of coverage for years to come

IMA’s Malaria team will continue to work with the distribution supervisors to perform post-distribution check ups every six months. During PDCU campaigns, the team will visit a random selection of 5 percent of households to monitor net usage and durability.

Going where no one else goes

We go to the farthest reaching corners of the country to make sure that every household gets their nets, sometimes facing great adversity. Breakdowns come often, as well as getting stuck in mud. Despite it all, we maintain our passion and determination for getting the job done.

Onward

The IMA Malaria Team and its partners are currently finishing up the distribution in the first five health zones: Businga, Loko, Wapinda, Gbadolite and Mobayi. Nets distributed and hung so far: 152,108.

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