Mozambique’s Ministry of Health has promised that half of the country’s population will receive at least one mosquito net by August next year under a new campaign to be launched next month during which 16 million nets will be distributed by the ministry in a concerted effort to reduce the incidence of malaria.

The Diario de Mocambique newspaper Thursday quoted the national Director of Public Health, Francisco Mbofana, as saying that the nets will be distributed simultaneously throughout the country. The campaign will begin in the northern provinces of Nampula and Niassa before being launched nationwide.

Mbofana explained that most of the cost will be borne by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria through a 20 million US dollar donation. However, the government will finance the cost of distributing the nets.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of his ministry’s co-ordinating council, which is taking place in the central city of Beira, Mbofana added that he was concerned about the improper use of mosquito nets. Therefore the campaign will have a component that focusses on informing people about the importance of correct usage of the nets.

He added that one of the advantages of running such a widespread campaign is that it disrupts the resale of the donated nets. However, he recognized that changing people’s behaviour remains a big challenge.

Questioned about the incidence of malaria, Mbofana stated that Zambezia remains the province with the highest number of cases and that the centre and north of the country are worst affected by the disease.

Mbofana added: We recognize that we have had some difficulty in implementing preventative methods such as the use of nets and spraying to control mosquitos. In Mozambique, we have not had 100 per cent coverage of these two methods. However, in this campaign that we are launching in September, we will cover the entire country with one of these methods.”