School Net Program
While there has been a significant decrease in prevalence of malaria and an increase in net coverage, malaria remains a major public health problem in Tanzania. It is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality, especially in children under five years of age and pregnant women. The Government of Tanzania has been working to scale up net distribution and communication efforts where they are needed most. The National Malaria Control Program (NMCP) aims to have at least 80% of the population of Tanzania sleeping under a long-lasting insecticide-treated net (LLIN) every night, leading to an overall reduction in malaria transmission.
The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MoHSW) instituted a variety of methods for distributing nets starting in 2000. To sustain this protection and support universal coverage, the MoHSW initiated a “keep-up campaign” in 2013 to replace worn out and damaged nets by distributing free LLINs to school children and through the ongoing voucher program. The MoHSW implemented the school net distribution campaign in 2013, 2014, and 2015 in the Southern Zone regions of Lindi, Mtwara, and Ruvuma, with the intention to later scale up to a national program.
While the first campaign in 2013 aimed to create awareness of the school net program and ensure that each target audience knew their role in the roll-out of the initiative. Campaign messages focused on the rationale for the school net distribution program, why nets were being distributed to schools and to certain children, redistribution of nets, net care and repair, net use, and roles and responsibilities within the household and community related to net use.
The campaign was supported by the USAID-funded Communication and Malaria Initiative in Tanzania (COMMIT) project and implemented by the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs (CCP). CCP supported the 2014 and 2015 programs through the Tanzania Capacity and Communication Project (TCCP).