The Ghana Health Service, with the National Malaria Control Programme, has started the distribution of about 1.5 million treated insecticides mosquito nets throughout the Eastern Region.
The exercise, which is running concurrently with another in the Volta Region, where the same quantity is being distributed, would end by the weekend.
Addressing the media as part of a sensitisation programme at Koforidua, Mr Kwame Gakpe, Coordinator for the National Malaria Control Programme, said the exercise was expected to cover over 95 per cent of households in the two regions.
He expressed worry that malaria cases recorded at the hospitals nationwide covered about 45 per cent of Out Patient Department (OPD) cases, saying, Ghanaians should be more committed to the cause of reducing the rate drastically.
Mr Gapke said the exercise was to replace the expired insecticide nets distributed in 2011, under the Universal Hung-Up Project since “the lifespan of every insecticide net is three years or 20 washes from the start of its use.”
He emphasised that the intervention, which sought to distribute free insecticide treated nets to every household, was aimed at helping to reduce malarial cases.
“This year’s exercise is based on registration of household members and issuing of coupons to them, after which they are expected to present the coupons at a distribution point being positioned at vantage points in the communities to collect their free mosquito nets,” he said.
The Reverend Richard K. Yeboah, Eastern Regional Coordinator of the Malaria Control Programme, said the nets were not for sale, emphasizing that, “under no circumstance should any household member be charged to pay for them.”
He clarified that, every household of one to four members were entitled to two treated nets, whereas households of five or more were entitled to three nets.
Rev. Yeboah cautioned beneficiaries to handle the nets with maximum care to keep them potent, saying, “the moment households receive the nets, they must open and spread them for 24 hours before sleeping in them.”
“The treated nets are not to be put under sunlight and should not be washed with detergents since detergents destroy the insecticide in the nets, thereby rendering them impotent to kill the mosquitoes,” he said.
The Regional Coordinator reminded household members, especially those in the rural areas that, the nets were “treated bed nets” and should not be used for fishing.