Unguja, Zanzibar — The United States government and the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar launched the Usingizi Bul Bul (‘A Restful Night’s Sleep’) campaign that will distribute approximately 248,000 insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) across 53 Shehias in Zanzibar, marking a significant leap forward in the fight against malaria. The remaining Shehias in Zanzibar will receive ITNs in 2024.
With funding from the United States President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) partnered with the Zanzibar Malaria Elimination Program (ZAMEP) through its project Breakthrough ACTION to design the Usingizi Bul Bul campaign, which focuses on three key actions: ensuring households are registering for ITNs; ensuring households are collecting ITNs; and ensuring people in homes are sleeping under ITNs.
Speaking during the launch event, Zanzibar Minister of Health Nassor Ahmed Mazrui said, “This campaign showcases our commitment to collaboration and the utilization of cutting-edge approaches. We express our gratitude to USAID and partners for their invaluable contributions. Together, we are confident that this collective effort will lead us closer to a malaria-free Zanzibar.”
For the first time in Zanzibar, a state-of-the-art digital registration and issuance system has been introduced to help people register their households and easily receive ITNs. USAID-funded Digital Square project, a global partnership initiative that coordinates investments into smart, scalable health technology solutions, to design a system that makes ITNs more accessible, reduces delays in distribution, and ensures that more people benefit from ITNs.
New research in Zanzibar shows that while people are less worried about getting malaria, barriers such as discomfort, difficulty breathing, and itching/rashes still hinder consistent ITN usage. Social and behavior change initiatives, such as the Usingizi Bul Bul campaign, play a key role in addressing these challenges and bringing about significant, long term, positive changes within communities.
“The Usingizi Bul Bul campaign embodies our dedication to malaria elimination in Zanzibar,” said Anna Hoffman, Acting USAID/Tanzania Health Office Director. “The United States remains committed to helping move toward a malaria-free future in Zanzibar, and we urge Zanzibaris to ensure they receive their ITNs and sleep under them every night for ‘Usingizi Bul Bul.’”