30 Mar. 2008

PR# 2008-123

ISAF delivers mosquito nets to fight malaria

KABUL, Afghanistan – ISAF logistics teams in southern Afghanistan airlifted six tons of mosquito nets to Helmand and Uruzgan Provinces Friday to help fight malaria.

The nets will be used in towns and villages in the south, where malaria is a seasonal threat to the lives of thousands of Afghans.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to make a difference for Afghans,” said Flight Lieutenant Tim Frogley, from the Joint Movement Unit at Kandahar Airfield. “Most Afghans in the south are too poor to buy anti-malaria drugs or nets and without this airlift hundreds of local people could have fallen ill with malaria, and many would have died.”

Helmand and Uruzgan Provinces each received 3,000 nets. In the next few days, the Provincial Reconstruction Teams will hand the nets over to the provincial Directors of Public Health, who will arrange for them to be distributed to the neediest families.

“These nets are a simple and cost-effective way to combat malaria,” said Lieutenant Colonel Ashley Croft, a military doctor who is currently serving in Afghanistan as public health advisor to ISAF. “Mosquitoes bite at night and the nets are treated with a long-lasting insecticide which repels insects for at least two years, but which is completely safe for humans.”

The Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Helmand and Kandahar provinces also have 10,000 treated nets on order and plan to distribute these additional nets before May, which normally marks the start of malaria transmission in southern Afghanistan.

Malaria is a mosquito-borne infection which is transmitted during the summer months, and which is endemic throughout Afghanistan. One million Afghans acquire malaria each year and an unknown number, mostly pregnant women and babies, die from the disease.

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