BY SAMUEL OTIENO, 12 MARCH 2012
PLANS by the government to fight malaria through the use of mosquito treated nets seem to be failing after it emerged that nearly 50 percent of those who acquired the nets use them for different purposes.
A study by Population Service International revealed that 51 percent of those having nets use them to protect their gardens and keep rodents from their kitchens.
Speaking during a tour of parts of Nyanza province to assess the feasibility of use of nets, in a programme dubbed hang up campaign, director maternal and child health division Antony Gitau said despite the fact that most of the homes have mosquito nets, they hardly use them to protect themselves against mosquitoes. According to the study, most of the people who have the nets do not use them either out of ignorance or taboo. Gitau said more than 200,000 people from 36 districts who had objected the use of mosquito nets are currently embracing them and through the campaign use of mosquito nets has seen a 10 percent increase.
The campaign is funded by the United Kingdom to the tune of Sh9 million. Public health officials have in the past decried the misuse of mosquito nets in Nyanza with most of the people using them to cover gardens, green houses for mangoes and fishing activities. Nyanza provincial director of public health and sanitation Jackson Kioko said the misuse of mosquito nets is rampant in the province with others using them to make wedding dress.
Last year in an effort to curb the misuse of nets, the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation teamed up with members of the provincial administration to apprehend and prosecute those who misuse nets. However, the campaign did not bear much fruit and the ministry together with PSI has launched a campaign spearheaded by scouts to tame misuse of insecticide treated nets through enlightening the community on their use.