Community engagement is a crucial ingredient to a successful bed net distribution and it is fun! The ASSP Project’s Malaria Team held a community wide event to educate the community on malaria and promote the use of bed nets in Nyanga, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The event began with a performance by the local marching band and was followed by educational speeches by various partners, community members and IMA’s own Dr Charlotte Ndolerire. She communicated 3 key points to encourage bed net usage and connect usage with malaria prevention:
- Approximately 500 people die of malaria per day in DRC, mostly children;
- Mosquitos that bite at night cause malaria; and
- Using Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs) every night significantly reduces transmission of malaria.
After the speakers were finished a village was entertained as a community theater group put on a play demonstrating how malaria is contracted, why nets are important and the repercussions of not using the nets. Finally, to end the event the marching band, village chief, IMA team and many other partners aiding in the hang up, all loaded into the project vehicles and drove through three health areas to spread the message about malaria and bed nets. Two of the vehicles carried Relais Communitaires (RECOs) with megaphones who educated the community on malaria and bed net usage and informed them that teams would be arriving soon to hang nets for them. The following day the RECOs continued the messaging campaign in the 8 remaining health areas of Nyanga.