"We are going to sleep well" – The Lutheran malaria program in Zambia

Jessica Nipp Hacker

Long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets are one very important part of the comprehensive, community-based malaria programs that the ELCA Malaria Campaign supports.

In Zambia, net distributions happen in conjunction with thorough community education, so that every person receiving a net knows how malaria is transmitted and why sleeping under a net is the healthiest choice they can make for their family.  Community education also ensures that program participants know how to hang, tuck in and store a net properly, how to wash it when necessary (with bar soap, not laundry soap), how to mend holes, and how to reactivate the insecticide when its effectiveness starts to fade.

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Photo: during a net distribution in Zambia, trained volunteers demonstrate proper use and maintenance of a mosquito net.  Photo by Matt Jeppson

After a net distribution in Masombo congregation near Chavuma, Zambia, local elder Mr. Manjomba is thrilled that the members of his congregation have been able to participate in the Lutheran malaria program in Zambia. "Today, we are happy because everyone in our congregation has received a long-lasting insecticide-treated net (LLIN), including our children," Mr. Manjomba explains. 

The Lutheran malaria program in Zambia works with a grassroots network of Lutheran congregations in mostly rural areas, reaching out to the members of the congregation and to their neighbors with education and malaria-prevention resources, including nets.  

"Starting from now we are going to sleep well," says Mr. Manjomba, "rather than [experiencing the] sleepless nights we always had, being bitten by mosquitoes and suffering from malaria. We are now saying bye-bye to malaria."

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Photo: members of Masombo Lutheran congregation show off the nets they received from the Lutheran malaria program in Zambia, which also provided comprehensive malaria education. Photo by Oscar Musangu

Armed with malaria knowledge and their new nets, malaria program participants from Masombo congregation are ready to bring malaria-reducing behaviors into their households-- and say bye-bye to malaria!