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‘We’re skeptical about mosquito nets’

CHRISTINE CHISHA, Petauke
MISINFORMATION associated with the use of insecticide-treated nets among the communities in Petauke district of Eastern Province is hindering the fight against malaria.
Petauke District Commissioner Velenasi Banda said members of the community believe that sleeping under an insecticide mosquito net causes nightmares, enhances hypertension and chances of suffocating in the night.
She appealed to the community to abandon such beliefs as they are not true.
“Do not believe the myth from the communities.  Sleeping under a mosquito net is one of the key interventions to reduce malaria incidences, a mosquito net is safe,” she said.
Ms Banda was speaking in Petauke during a mass distribution of long-lasting insecticide-treated nets at Chipungu rural health post.
She said malaria still remains a major cause of sickness and death in the district. It accounts for the largest number of out-patient visits and hospital admissions, especially under-five children.
Ms Banda said malaria can be prevented through the use of scientifically proven interventions such as the use of treated mosquito nets, indoor residual spraying, environmental management and provision of malaria prevention medicines to pregnant women.
She said Petauke district needs healthy people who can contribute to the development of the district.
Ms Banda appealed to the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health to continue mobilising additional resources to ensure effective implementation of malaria control interventions in communities.
She urged community members to ensure that every member of their family sleeps under an insecticide net as a contribution to the fight against malaria.
The District Commissioner said “the fight against malaria can be best won if everyone uses a mosquito net correctly and consistently. I’m urging you to use a mosquito net every night regardless of the season”.
Meanwhile, Ms Banda has implored Petauke residents to maintain high standards of hygiene to help keep diseases such as Ebola at bay.

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