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As anti-malaria programmes are scaled up, companies can contribute valuable expertise in operations management, project management, logistics and distribution'. Sarah Murray, Reporter
Financial Times, special report on Combating Malaria, April 2009
'Before Nets for Life came to this area, community members used to wake me up in the middle of the night at least four times every month to baptise and anoint a sick child - only to bury him or her the next day. Since the programme started, such midnight calls have ceased … Nets for Life is saving lives.' Fr. James Okwonga, Mugarus ya Parish, Uganda Oct 2008

Nets for Life

Background - why we're involved

One child dies every 30 seconds from malaria in Africa and as many as 500 million people - equivalent to twice the population of Indonesia - are infected every year. This annually costs the global economy an estimated $12 billion in lost productivity - even though malaria is largely preventable. Indeed, 30 years ago, following the World Health Organisation's insecticide spraying programme, malaria was eradicated (or dramatically reduced) in 37 countries. The situation has dramatically reversed over the past decade.

Our business is only as strong as the communities in which we operate. We invest in programmes that link our core business activities, expertise and resources with the key issues facing our communities. Malaria affects our staff, customers and the African communities in which we operate - we believe we had a duty to act.

Nets for Life - how we contribute

We joined forces with five other donors in 2006 to launch Nets for Life and provide one million long-lasting insecticide treated nets (LLITN) across 15 African countries. By the end of 2008, 1.5 million nets had been distributed ahead of schedule and under budget.

We committed $5 million in October 2008 to distribute a further five million treated LLITNs by 2013. To date, 600,000 nets have been distributed and 1.2 million people educated on how to use them.

We use 'Malaria Agents' to distribute the nets and educate recipients on their use. We estimate that approximately 25,000 malaria agents will be needed for the effective distribution of five million nets. Between October 2008 and October 2009, 8,854 Malaria Agents were trained.

This year Nets for Life won the second annual Business Leader in the Fight Against Malaria Award in Lusaka, Zambia. The Zambia Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ZACCI) trophy was presented by deputy health minister Dr Solomon Musonda. Dr Musonda said he was 'proud' to hand Standard Chartered the trophy, adding: 'You have successfully integrated malaria concerns into your business operations and your leadership is showing all of us the way forward.'

Monitoring and evaluation - measuring our success

While we are able to reach some of the most remote communities in sub-Saharan Africa using a network of faith-based groups and non-governmental organisations, just leaving nets in communities is not enough. We have conducted baseline data surveys and monitor key indicators to evaluate whether our targets are being met, and whether corrective measures to our distribution programme are required. We work with Ministries of Health and National Malaria Control Programmes to obtain this data.

Our most recent monitoring and evaluation data shows we have distributed a total of 1,777,571 nets since Nets for Life launched in 2006. Of these nets:

  • 80 per cent to children under five: 1,422,057
  • 16 per cent to pregnant women: 284,411
  • four per cent to others: 71,103

Benefiting the community - how we're making a difference

In October, we completed the first year of phase two. We are making good progress and a lot of the groundwork laid this year will result in real benefits in 2010. Our focus on procurement means that we will source more than two million nets in-country, and distribute a total of 2.7 million nets by the end of 2010.

Our baseline survey revealed that, on average, just four out of 10 people in the communities we are reaching knew how malaria was transmitted when we first made contact. This number has risen to nine out of ten in our most recent study.

Episodes of malaria have reduced from 1,312 in 2004 to 505 in 2007 in Zambia.

Highlights

By the end of 2009:

  • 13 million people reached by Nets for Life messages
  • 1.7 million Long Lasting Insecticide Nets distributed
  • 65,000 children aged under five were saved between 2006 and 20094
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Estimate at December 2009

Report tools

Annual Report and Accounts 2009