Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Villagers using bed-nets for wedding gowns

A woman and a child under a mosquito net. There has been evidence of people turning the nets into fishing gear especially in Nyanza Province. Photo/FILE

A woman and a child under a mosquito net. There has been evidence of people turning the nets into fishing gear especially in Nyanza Province. Photo/FILE 

By ISIAIH ESIPISU

Mosquito net manufactures are teaming up with the provincial administration and village elders in several parts of Kenya in an effort to apprehend and prosecute people who use the products for purposes other than covering beds.

According to Dr Elizabeth Juma, who is the head of malaria control under the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation, there has been evidence of people turning the nets into fishing gear especially in Nyanza Province. Now a different group has discovered another lucrative business venture, and are using the nets to make wedding dresses.

“This is wrong and totally unacceptable. Bed-nets are supposed to play a noble role of preventing deaths that would be caused by malaria. I think there is need for further sensitisation and education for the entire public to understand the importance of sleeping under insecticide treated mosquito nets,” said Dr Juma during the launch of the Malaria Prevention Month last week in Nairobi.

According to one of the net manufacturers, Vestergaard Frandsen (EA) Ltd, they are working with local administrators to trace and book such culprits.

Apart from individuals converting the nets into business tools, there are other beliefs in the country which are setbacks in fighting malaria.