Nothing But Nets Campaign Aims to Fight Malaria in Africa


This is the VOA Special English Development Report.

Nothing But Nets is a campaign to give families in Africa free bed nets to prevent malaria.

Malaria is preventable and treatable, yet it remains one of the world's deadliest diseases. Another person dies from it about every thirty seconds. Most of the victims are children and most of the deaths are in Africa. Africa suffers more than a million deaths from malaria each year.

Nothing But Nets is a campaign of the United Nations Foundation. The nets are manufactured by Sumitomo of Japan and the Danish company Vestergaard Frandsen. The nets are treated with insecticides that kill mosquitoes, which spread malaria.

The campaign collects donations. People are asked to give at least ten dollars. Elizabeth McKee Gore heads the campaign. She says the nets cost about five dollars; the other half of the donation covers training and distribution costs.

Local health workers are taught how to hang and take care of the nets, then they train their neighbors. The campaign says each net lasts up to seven years.

Nothing But Nets was launched two years ago after sports writer Rick Reilly wrote about malaria in Sports Illustrated magazine. He urged his readers to donate money to the United Nations Foundation for its efforts to buy treated bed nets.

Since then, the campaign has raised more than twenty million dollars. The National Basketball Association, the United Methodist Church and other groups have joined the campaign.

So far, the campaign says it has supplied more than seven hundred thousand nets to children and their families in Africa. The executive director says parts of Africa will have received more than two million nets by the end of this year. Nigeria, the Central African Republic, Gabon, Ethiopia and Ivory Coast have already received supplies.

The Web site points out that a net treated with insecticide offers about twice the protection of an untreated net. When enough houses have treated nets, the combined effect can make a whole community safer from mosquitoes.

The campaign is also involved in efforts to vaccinate African children against measles and polio. Elizabeth McKee Gore says she hopes that in time, Nothing But Nets can also direct its efforts to other parts of the world.

And that's the VOA Special English Development Report, written by Jill Moss. You can learn about the efforts of other groups working in the developing world at