Angola Mosquito Net Project featured in Vida magazine

The Angola Mosquito Net Project’s Committe Chairman Tako Koning was interviewed by Angola’s Vida mgazine, as part of their coverage of World Malaria Day on April 25. Click to download a PDF of the article, published on April 21. Vida is Angola’s popular arts, culture and business magazine that is printed weekly in Luanda. In the article, Tako discusses the project’s history, donors and partners, and highlights some of the Project’s net recipients, such as the Mobile Clinic outside of Luanda and the clinic in M’Banza Congo, Zaire province.

World Malaria Day 2009

Today is World Malaria Day and Angola has reason to celebrate. On Tuesday, Angola’s National Malaria Control Programme (PNCM) announced that “the death rate has been decreasing for the past two years due to the epidemiological coverage being implemented nationwide”. In 2008, there were about three million simple cases and 200,000 of serious cases with 9,000 deaths were registered in Angola. Read the story on

To mark World Malaria Day in Angola, the inaugeration of the country’s first health research centre took place this afternoon in Caxito (a city north of Luanda). Researchers at the centre will study diseases including malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AID. The research centre was created as an initiative between the governments of Angola, Portugual and the Colouste Gulbenkian Foundation. Read ANGOP’s full article.

Nets donated to the Mobile Clinic

Happy to be receiving a mosquito net.

Happy to be receiving a mosquito net. Mobile Clinic Volunteer Viveca Chan, a nurse and their young patient.

The Angola Mosquitonet Project donated 700 nets in January to the Mobile Clinic, a small team of women who work with some of the 350 patients at the Tuberculosis Hospital in Luanda. Headed up by Bernie Nicholson, a registered nurse who formed the group six years ago, the women get donations to buy food and medicine and other necessities such as drinking water for some of the patients there whose families cannot afford to support them.

All tucked in and protected from mosquitoes.

All tucked in and protected from mosquitoes.

The patients that the team works with, each receive a mosquito net which they take home with them upon discharge. Viveca Chan, who has been working with tuberculosis patients in the hospital for four years, says, “Thank you, we have been able to give out more mosquito nets recently. The problem is just how to use them. It is high to the ceiling and not possible to attach them there. Mostly they try and get sticks to extend the posts of the bed. But many of the patients are too weak to walk, and many have no family to help either. “

Mounting a net on a hospital bed is a challenge.  Without leave to drill holes in walls or the ceiling, sticks are tied to bed posts and the net is tied to the sticks.

Mounting a net on a hospital bed is a challenge. Without leave to drill holes in walls or the ceiling, sticks are tied to bed posts and the net is tied to the sticks.

The Mosquitonet Project is happy to support the Mobile Clinic and thanks them for helping TB patients.

New findings about malaria in Luanda

Read some recently published information about malaria in urban Luanda:

  • Download a PDF of the five page report published in March 2009 in The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene journal, titled: “How Much Malaria Occurs in Urban Luanda, Angola? A Health Facility-Based Assessment”
  • Download a PDF  of the ‘Health facility-based evaluation of malaria in Luanda, Angola March 17-31, 2008′ poster

Thank you to USAID in Angola’s malaria experts Dr. Mihigo and Dr. Saute for providing the Angola MosquitoNet Project with this material .

E8 initiative aims to eliminate malaria in the SADC

Earlier this month in Windhoek, Namibia, Ministers of Health in the SADC (Southern Africa Development Community) countries launched “E8” a cross-border partnership to eliminate malaria.

According to the Roll Back Malaria website, the E8 -Elimination 8 – initiative “brings together Ministers from Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland, four low-burden countries which have been targeted for elimination by the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), to work closely with their counterparts in neighbouring Angola, Mozambique, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, where malaria still has a serious impact on health and livelihoods.”

The RBM website’s Angola page also contains a detailed English language map that can be downloaded as a PDF which shows a province by province breakdown of malaria distribution in Angola. Although the page is in french, the map is in English.

Good things come in small packages

Although the MosquitoNet Project is small, for eight years we’ve been operating as volunteers with zero spent on overhead. We have managed to raise over $100,000 which translates into about 12,500 nets. Assuming that three or four people sleep under one family size net, this is equivalent to protection for at least 30,000 individuals.


A young mother carries a baby and a mosquito net package on her head.

The old expression “Good things come in small packages” could well be said about the Angola MosquitoNet Project. Firstly, the mosquito nets themselves are good things distributed in nice compact blue packages and secondly is the fact that compared to ambitious Africa-wide anti-malaria programs such as those sponsored by the United Nations, our initiative is tiny but good. Good because we catch the groups that fall in the cracks. These are groups or organizations headed by responsible people whom we know personally who are working in the hinterland of Angola as well as the ghettos inside the sprawling capital of Luanda but don’t qualify for or don’t have the logistical back-up or time to apply for mosquito nets from the big agencies.

Take for example Joan Woodyer, a British registered nurse working in the province of Zaire. Joan works in a clinic run by the Baptist Church in the province’s capital city, M’banza Conga. When she heard of the MosquitoNet Project she contacted us. We gave her church in Luanda 400 nets which they promptly shipped up to Joan.

Receiving nets is the easy part. Distributing nets however is a complicated and sometimes even political process. Everybody wants a mosquito net and when one village or neighborhood hears that their neighbors received nets, they want to receive the same gift. Joan said in her report to us, “We’ve finally got everything in place for distributing 200 nets in Sumpi. We met with the sobas (traditional rulers) from the town yesterday to make the final arrangements. We’re trying to make sure that every bairro (neighborhood) gets a fair distribution. We’ve arranged 5 dates in July when we’ll be giving out the nets – we’re planning to do two bairros each time. We will be targeting families with children under five and pregnant women.”

Mr. Kuki

Mr. Kuku of the Baptist Church in Zaire Province distributes nets in the town of Sumpi.

Once the distribution area has been designated and approved, the next step is to educate the recipients. Even though families love to receive a net, it is important that they actually use the nets. Everybody in Angola knows malaria and knows people who died because of malaria but not everyone realizes or is convinced of the prevention afforded by a mosquito net. In her report, Joan outlined that her team would do a presentation “on malaria and on using the nets to prevent malaria, before we actually give out the nets.”

The final and biggest hurdle, is translating knowledge into action – that is getting recipients to actually hang up the net. Usually part of the presentation about malaria and the use of nets includes a demonstration on how easy it is to hang a net. Each mosquito net package includes all the necessary strings and hooks. Joan’s team went a step further. She said, “We’ve asked each bairro in Sumpi to appoint two or three men who can help people hang the nets. We’ve said that we will be checking some houses to make sure that the nets are being used!”

The MosquitoNet Project managed to communicate with Joan by email (most of the main provincial centres are now getting internet access) and in our last email we asked her if she needed more mosquito nets. She replied, “Well, we’re only just beginning to scratch the surface. There are so many remote villages up here that could benefit. We visited one yesterday called Ndobo, right up on the border and was an hours drive off the main road down a small dirt track. The distance was only 20 kilometers but it took us an hour because the road was in such a poor condition. The village is in the middle of nowhere, it’s certainly the remotest place I’ve been to. We are going to give them the last 100 nets. If there’s any chance of having another 400 next time you have some to give out, we would gladly receive them.”

Our project’s goal is to raise enough funds to purchase 3,300 nets by the end of 2008. We definitely plan to have 400 small but good packages of nets to give to Joan for the villages in Zaire province.

Highlights from the 2008 UN Summit

An increase of $3 billion in funding towards eliminating malaria was announced at the UN Summit held held on September 25 in New York. Here are some links and highlights from the Summit’s key reports:

The UN released the 2008 World Malaria Report. According to a recent article in

The report finds that recent increases in malaria funding were beginning to translate into coverage of key malaria interventions, especially bednets, by 2006… The percentage of children protected by insecticide-treated nets increased almost eightfold, from 3 per cent in 2001 to 23 per cent in 2006 in the 18 African countries where surveys were held…

However, much more work remains to be done; in Africa, only 125 million people were protected by bednets in 2007, while 650 million are still at risk, notes the report. “If the availability of bednets and other key interventions can be increased, lives can be saved,” said Unicef executive director Ann M. Veneman.

The Roll Back Malaria Partnership also released the Global Malaria Action Plan labelled as the first-ever single comprehensive blueprint for global malaria control and elimination. According to the report:

Africa remains the region with the highest burden of malaria cases and deaths in the world. In sub-Saharan Africa, approximately 365 million cases occurred in 2002 and 963 thousand deaths in 2000, equating to 71% of worldwide cases and 85.7% of worldwide deaths. Almost 1 out of 5 deaths of children under 5 in Africa is due to malaria.

Why the grim malaria stats for children?

Doctor diagnosing a child with malaria in Cunene province, Angola.

Doctor diagnosing a child with malaria in Cunene province, Angola.

We know mosquito nets are important for young children because they are more vulnerable to malaria, but why? According to the Angola Malaria Indicator Survey*, for about six months following birth, antibodies acquired from the mother during pregnancy protect children born in areas of endemic malaria. This immunity is gradually lost, and children start to develop their own immunity to malaria. The pace at which immunity is developed depends on their exposure to malaria infection. In areas where malaria is endemic and transmission is intense, children are thought to achieve a high level of immunity by their fifth birthday. Before then, young children may experience repeated episodes of malaria, some of them life-threatening such as cerebral malaria. This contributes to high childhood mortality rates in a number of countries. In areas of low malaria transmission, immunity is acquired more slowly.
In 2004 Angola reported 3.2 million cases of malaria, two-thirds of them in children under 5 years of age. It is estimated that malaria accounts for 35% of overall mortality in children under five and 60% of hospital admissions of children under five.

*The 2006-07 Angola Malaria Indicator Survey (AMIS) is the first survey in Angola to collect nationally representative data on malaria-specific indicators.

For more information about malaria and the Angola Mosquito Net Project, click here to download our latest update.

Update on latest mosquito net distribution

On April 30, 2008, the Mosquito Net Project celebrated their 6th net distribution by giving nets to the following organizations: Concern in Bie province (education program), Development Workshop (Local initiatives Program), Baptist Church medical centre M’Banza Congo, Missionary Scott McHaney for Baptist churches in Uige and the Lundas, the Palanca Negra Shepherds Program (Malange), Women in Alfalit (Bairro dos Ossos), Oxfam, Mothers in Creche program (Viana), Vida Abundante, Yme Cabinda, Lutheran church (maternity caregivers program Cunene- see photo below).

regnant Himba women pack their nosquito nets as they prepare for their trek back home from the Lutheran clinic in Chawikwa, in the province of Cunene.

Pregnant Himba women pack their mosquito nets as they prepare for their trek back home from the Lutheran clinic in Chawikwa, Cunene province.

Our project is now in its 8th year. When we have raised a substantial amount of money, we place an order for the nets (nowadays all nets are impregnated) and then hold a handover with donors and receivers. All the money donated goes to nets since we operate as volunteers and can boast 0% overhead.

Angola Mosquito Net Project volunteers

Participants at the April 2008 mosquito net handover

We have now raised a total of $101,457.00 to date and our goal for the end of 2008 is to reach the $125,000.00 mark, the equivalent of 15,600 family size nets. Key donors for our April handover include Chevron, Tullow Oil, Statoil Hydro, DNV, Yme Foundation Norway, and Oceaneering International.

To download a pdf of our 4 page July 2008 Project Update click here.

World Malaria Day

Today is World Malaria Day 2008. To mark the event in Angola, health officials and UN officials are in Luena City, in eastern Moxico Province, to “inaugurate a fair of products and medicines to fight malaria, as well as launch the campaign of insecticide spraying inside houses in the Sacassange village (14 kilometres south of Luena City)”, according to the Angola Press Agency. Read more here:

Today, Angola’s Health Minister also announced the government’s plans to reduce the malaria mortality rate from 30,000 (recorded in 2003) to less than 8,000 this year. 2000 deaths caused by malaria have been recorded this year. The Minister said mortality rates have dropped in 2008 and pointed to malaria prevention awareness campaigns using mosquito nets as contributing to the decline. Read more here: .

The Roll Back Malaria consortium organized the Zambezi Expedition to highlight the World Malaria Day’s year long slogan: ‘Malaria- a disease without borders’. We’ve been following its progress- particularly as the expedition launched from Angola’s Moxico province three weeks ago. Today the expedition arrived in Livingstone, Zambia. The expedition is the first stage in the RBM calls a regional malaria control initiative – the “Trans-Zambezi project”. The RBM says the project will boost health, tourism and economic development in the Trans-Zambezi region. More here: