Your nets hit the mark! I was in Pointe Noire for the reception and hand-over of the nets donated by Nothing but Nets and received a very warm reception from the local prefet and village councils where the nets will be delivered. Although the campaign was launched by the government of Congo with the assistance of UNICEF, Nothing But Nets and the fact that these nets were paid for by private American donors – NOT corporations – was a major point of each person’s remarks.
The distribution of the 210,000 bed nets donated by Nothing But Nets began in the commercial port city of Pointe Noire, Republic of Congo in early October. As Deputy Chief of Mission for the U.S. Embassy, I flew to Pointe Noire to attend this distribution meeting. I also pointed out in my speech that these nets were not donated by a large American corporation or the American government, but rather the money for these nets came from the pockets of the American people. Malaria is still the number one killer for children under the age of five in the Republic of Congo, killing an estimated 21,000 children a year.
The director of the Congo division of UNICEF, Koen Vanomelingen, presided over the ceremony that included speakers from the Ministry of Health, the Prefets of Pointe Noire and the U.S. Embassy. Mr. Vanormelingen thanked the people of the United States for their contribution that resulted in 210,000 nets that enabled UNICEF and the Ministry of Health to meet their goal of a total of 600,000 treated nets. At a previous meeting, the Minister of Health acknowledged the generosity of the American people.
The mosquito-treated nets were part of a campaign led by UNICEF and the Congolese Ministry of Health to promote the health of children with three focuses: measles vaccinations, Vitamin A supplements, and the eradication of malaria. They have estimated that 662,000 children Congo-wide will benefit from at least one of these goals.
Three village chiefs, representing villages that were to receive the nets in the Pointe Noire area, came up to me after the ceremony to personally thank me for the donation. They were surprised with my comment that the nets were paid for by private individuals making donations to Nothing But Nets from their own wallets. These three chiefs explained to me that the health of the children living in their villages has always been their prime concern, and thanked me on behalf of their children.
Nothing But Nets really came through for the children of the Republic of Congo. Thank you!
Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy, Brazzaville