Sierra Leone launched a nationwide malaria bed net distribution campaign on November 3, with support from the United States through the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI).

The campaign will see five million insecticide-treated mosquito nets distributed to households across the country, with the goal of protecting everyone from malaria, especially children under 5 and pregnant women.

Sierra Leone is one of the most malaria-burdened countries in Africa, with over 5,000 children under 5 dying from the disease each year. Mosquito nets are one of the most effective ways to prevent malaria, but only if they are used correctly and consistently.

U.S. Ambassador Bryan Hunt joined H.E. President Julius Maada Bio and other government officials to launch the campaign in Bo district on November 3.

“Mosquito nets are proven to be an effective defense against malaria,” Ambassador Hunt said. “They prevent disease and save lives, but only if individuals use them correctly and consistently. We need everyone in Sierra Leone to take responsibility for their and their families’ health and properly use the nets provided.”

The bed net distribution campaign is part of PMI’s long-term partnership with Sierra Leone to eliminate malaria. Since 2017, PMI has provided over $120 million to support malaria control and eradication efforts in the country.

In addition to the bed net distribution campaign, PMI has also supported the delivery of nearly six million bed nets, more than five million fast-acting medicines, and four million malaria test kits to clinics and communities in Sierra Leone since 2018.

PMI has also trained over 28,800 health workers in malaria detection and treatment, and supported indoor residual spraying in Bo and Bombali districts, protecting over 600,000 Sierra Leoneans from malaria.

The Sierra Leone government has also played a key role in the fight against malaria, investing its own resources in malaria control and eradication.

“Successive Governments of Sierra Leone have been steadfast in their commitment to eliminating malaria,” Ambassador Hunt said. “Investing their own limited human and financial resources to this effort. When we speak of governments investing in their people, this is the sort of action-oriented, long-term approach that we envision.”

The bed net distribution campaign is a major step forward in Sierra Leone’s efforts to eliminate malaria. By working together, the government, PMI, and other partners can protect everyone from this deadly disease.