Mosquito nets warding off goats

BY: By Lydia Ezit
Some use the nets as fences for their backyard gardens
Some use the nets as fences for their backyard gardens

Some beneficiaries of the free mosquito net distribution project are still abusing the facility in spite of caution from the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP).

They are using the nets as fences for their backyard gardens, to nurse seeds, and in place of welded wire mesh for their domestic hencoop.

In some communities in the Adansi District of the Ashanti Region, treated mosquito nets are used as fences in some houses.

The practice has become common in the area such that many homes have gardens fenced with mosquito nets.

All these practices are contrary to the recommended use of the nets to protect people from mosquito bites.

The project is part of efforts by the NMCP to prevent malaria to protect lives, especially that of pregnant women and children.

The Mirror has been monitoring the use of the nets in some communities and engaging members to find out the motive behind the misuse.

In some coastal areas such as Chorkor in Accra, some residents who live along the beach use the net as trap doors or windows.

The Mirror observed that in some big towns people who slept on the street, in front of shops and other open spaces used them to prevent mosquito bites.

Even though some residents of Chorkor, Korle Gonno and Cape Coast were tight-lipped on the allegation of the abuse of the nets, others said using it as trap doors served the same purpose of preventing mosquitoes from entering rooms.

At the beach side in Winneba, the nets had been used as fence to prevent domestic animals from straying into farms of nursed coconut seedlings.

The Mirror’s visit to some of the communities in Adansi revealed that the practice was prevalent in communities such as Adansi Asokwa, Asokwa Junction, Adansi Adiembra, Akaporiso, Asonkore, Dayaase, Tewobaabi and New Edubiase.

Warding off animals
Residents in those areas said the practice of using the treated nets was to protect their backyard gardens from animals who chewed their crops.

Madam Abena Donkor of Adansi Asokwa said it was difficult to stop the abuse of the treated net because “goats do not like to come close to it and as such they are unable to get into the backyard farm to destroy crops.”

Another resident at Dayaase, Miss Akua Jukwaa, said each household was entitled to over 10 packs of treated mosquito nets, and she believed that the nets were misused because people had it in abundance.

She explained that it was good to use it as fence because “you will have no problem with animals”.

Reacting to the situation, the Vector Control Focal Personnel at the NMCP, Mr Christian Atta-Obeng, said using nets for other purposes would rather hinder the progress of the government’s fight against malaria.

He said the abuse “is not a case of lack of knowledge but is just an abuse of the nets. We educate users even at the district level. For every net that is distributed, there is education at every distribution point, which is buttressed by other post-distribution use activities. The abuse of the net has been reported and has also been observed”.

“This issue should be championed by all community and district leaders such as chiefs, family heads, religious leaders and all who matter to add their voice”, he added.

Although the nets are distributed to the communities at no cost, he explained that they were acquired through donor funds and the donors would want to see proper usage to continue their support of the initiative.