For Immediate Release
November 3, 2023
U.S. Embassy in Freetown
The United States and Sierra Leone Partner on Bed Nets Distribution Campaign
Bo, Sierra Leone – U.S. Ambassador Bryan Hunt joined H. E. President Julius Maada Bio and other Government of Sierra Leone representatives in Bo today to launch a partnership for the mass distribution of insecticide treated mosquito nets. The partnership, supported by the United States through the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative, will see five million insecticide treated bed nets distributed through a landmark nationwide campaign starting on November 3 and continuing throughout the month.
The U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) has partnered with Sierra Leone since 2017, contributing a total of $120 million towards malaria control and eradication. The strong partnership between the United States and Sierra Leone, enabled robust and effective malaria services to continue in 2023.
At a national launch event on November 3 in Bo district, the Minister of Health, Honorable Austin Demby, joined by U.S. Ambassador Bryan David Hunt and local authorities, declared the beginning of this mass bed net distribution exercise.
Sierra Leone is one of the most malaria-burdened nations in Africa, with its entire population of 8.5 million people at risk of the disease. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that every year, malaria kills over 5,000 children under 5 years of age in the country. It also contributes to life-threatening complications among pregnant women.
U.S Ambassador Bryan Hunt said, “Mosquito nets are proven to be an effective defense. They prevent disease and save lives but only if individuals use the correctly and consistently. We need everyone in Sierra Leone to take responsibility for their and their families’ health and properly use the nets provided. That means every night without excuse.” He added, “Successive Governments of Sierra Leone have been steadfast in their to eliminating malaria …. investing their own limited human and financial resources to this effort. When we speak of governments investing in their people, this is the sort of action-oriented, long-term approach that we envision.” .”
Through PMI funding and USAID programs, nearly 5 million bed nets, more than 5 million fast acting medicines, and 4 million malaria test kits have been delivered to clinics and communities since 2018. In addition, 4 million preventive treatment doses were delivered to pregnant women and indoor residual spraying was conducted in Bo and Bombali districts where nearly 300,000 homes were sprayed protecting over 600,000 Sierra Leoneans.
In the past year, more than 28,800 health workers received training that developed their ability to detect and treat malaria, strengthening the health system overall.
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