November 9, 2009

CCP awarded USAID grant for worldwide malaria project

The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for Communication Programs has been awarded a five-year grant from the United States Agency for International Development to ensure the distribution and proper use of long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets, known as LLINs, in malaria endemic countries.

The new project, called NetWorks, will partner with the Malaria Consortium, Catholic Relief Services and hundreds of local agencies across Africa and parts of Asia. The project will have an estimated cost of up to $100 million.

Long-lasting insecticide-treated nets are considered an essential tool for achieving and sustaining malaria control. The ability to efficiently and effectively distribute them and increase their use is critical to reducing the burden of malaria and maintaining control of the disease in endemic countries.

NetWorks will rely on a flexible approach to rapidly analyze the current state of malaria prevention; build coordination between local, regional and national malaria control agencies; strengthen distribution networks within countries; and increase demand for net ownership using state-of-the-art behavior-change techniques to close the ownership and usage gap.

The project intends to promote a mixed distribution model to flexibly respond to the situation in each country, blending distribution via the private sector, public health facilities, nongovernmental organizations and mass campaigns. Researchers aim to leave countries with sustainable LLIN systems that ensure a continuous and coordinated supply of nets for those who need them.

“The ability to get LLINs to those most vulnerable to deadly malaria—young children and pregnant women—is critical to achieving control of the disease,” said Matthew Lynch, project director and director of CCP’s Global Program on Malaria. “In the global fight against malaria, we desperately need new ways to better protect children, and we must make sure every vulnerable child sleeps under a net every night.”

Added Michael J. Klag, dean of the Bloomberg School of Public Health, “Malaria is a devastating disease that kills over 1 million people each year, most of whom are children living in Africa. The Bloomberg School of Public Health is working on many fronts to eliminate the global burden of this disease, from encouraging healthy behaviors to advancing our basic understanding of the mosquito and its immune system. The work of CCP brings us another step closer to achieving our goals.”