Strategic Collaboration for Successful Net Distribution

Jun 2018
ITN Distribution Activity, May 2017. Photo credit: USAID/Angola

"...the strategy of work for the campaign not only increased the dynamics of malaria prevention in the province but also established a requirement for collaboration among provincial partners, including community leaders who have  been  significantly contributing for the flow of activities at community level."
 - Félix Espalhado, malaria program supervisor, Cuanza Sul Province

Cuanza Sul, like other parts of Angola, is an endemic malaria region, with data from the Cuanza Sul Provincial Health Department (CSPHD) showing 236,515 cases of malaria with 12,853 hospitalizations and 707 deaths in the first quarter of 2017. With the current economic crisis in the country, many projects have been closed and CSPHD has been struggling with the challenging task of sustaining malaria control activities in the province. That is why CSPHD is enthusiastic about the novel insecticide-treated net (ITN) distribution campaign adopted by the National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) with the support of PMI.

Mr. Felix Espalhado, the CSPHD provincial malaria program supervisor, shared that “for the CSPHD it is an honor to be part of the first 5 provinces to lead a simultaneous mass distribution campaign in Angola”. For him, “the strategy of work implemented for the campaign not only increased the dynamics of malaria prevention in the province but also established a requirement for collaboration among provincial stakeholders, including community leaders who have been significantly contributing [to] the flow of activities."

While recognizing the great challenge of leading several activities simultaneously in all municipalities, Mr. Espalhado praised the strategic actions that stimulated the active involvement of all partners, with emphasis on the macro and microplanning exercises led by CSPHD and Population Services International (PSI) Angola, the NMCP’s partner in the implementation of the campaign. The planning exercises allowed CSPHD and PSI Angola to gather contributions at various levels including rooms for training and administrative work, transportation, accommodation, and warehouses in addition to facilitating the compliance with the distribution schedule.

In 3 months, 1,974 community health workers were trained by PSI Angola on malaria counseling and campaign tools to carry out the activities of communication, registration, and distribution of ITNs. By the end of the campaign, 990,944 ITNs were distributed to 1,720,325 people in all municipalities. According to Mr. Espalhado, "this new dynamic of work was a learning process for the province and with this the CSPHD hopes to have positive and sustainable impacts, counting on reinforcement of social behavior change communication programs to promote the use of the mosquito nets received and with the continued participation and contribution of all the provincial stakeholders involved in the fight against malaria. It was even an opportunity for everyone to realize their important role in improving the province's health conditions."

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