21 Apr. 2008

ISAF provides nets to defeat malaria

ISAF delivered 6,000 long-lasting mosquito nets to the Non Governmental Organization (NGO) Afghan Health and Development Service in Uruzgan province on 13 April 2008. The NGO will now distribute the nets to local families at risk from the deadly disease.

The initiative comes as a preventive measure ahead of the malaria transmission season, which stretches out from May to November in Southern Afghanistan.

“Pregnant women and small children are most at risk from malaria”, said Major Simon Bloemendaal, a health specialist who works with the Netherlands provincial reconstruction team (PRT) in Uruzgan. “The nets cost only around 5 US Dollar each, but if used correctly they will prevent hundreds of cases of malaria and many deaths.”

Malaria is a parasitic disease spread by mosquitoes, which bite mainly in the evening and at night. In Afghanistan there are around 1 million cases of malaria each year, and an unknown number of deaths. 

“These nets protect not only against malaria, but also against other insect-transmitted diseases which are common in Afghanistan, like leishmaniasis,” said Lieutenant Colonel Ashley Croft, a leading tropical disease expert who is currently serving in Afghanistan as public health advisor to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

ISAF PRTs in Helmand and Kandahar, two provinces adjacent to Uruzgan, also plan to start distributing long-lasting insecticidal nets in rural districts during the next few weeks.

Contact Information ISAF Public Information Office
Tel: +93 (0)79 51 1155 - Mobile: 0093 (0) 799 55 8291 pressoffice@hq.isaf.nato.int - www.nato.int/isaf/