Airtel, ExxonMobil in anti-malaria campaign

NightWatch, a communications programme developed by Malaria No More and Lalela Project, is expanding to include Chad and Tanzania; this is in addition to Cameroon and Senegal, where successful pilot programmes launched last year. Launch events are being held in each new country on or near World Malaria Day, April 25.

NightWatch is an innovative health communications programme that aims to increase the utilisation of malaria control tools, such as mosquito nets, in communities across Africa through targeted messages that air nightly at 9 p.m. on radio, television, and text messages. The simple message – "It's 9 p.m., are you and your family sleeping under your mosquito nets?" – is delivered by the most recognised and respected voices in each country, including politicians, musicians, athletes, and religious leaders.

The Chad program kicked off on April 21, with the help of the Ministry of Health of Chad, as part of the national "Stop Palu" (Stop Malaria) campaign. Leading partners ExxonMobil and its in-country affiliate ESSO, along with the cell phone company Airtel, are lending their private sector support to help ensure that every family knows how they can protect themselves and help their communities fight malaria. The launch coincided with the debut of the new anti-malaria anthem featuring top Chadian artists, available here:

"NightWatch's success demonstrates how an innovative program can impact the fight against malaria," said Suzanne McCarron, president, ExxonMobil Foundation. "We look forward to its success in reaching new families, and making a difference in the lives of so many in Chad and Tanzania."

In Tanzania, a NightWatch launch event was held on April 22. The new Tanzania programme complements Malaria No More's existing communications campaign, "Zinduka!," which means "Wake Up," and integrates top musicians into the nightly bed net reminder messages. This campaign is in partnership with United Against Malaria and Tanzania's Ministry of Health. Distributed through national television and radio, the nightly messages will reach over 35 million Tanzanians.

"The rapid expansion of NightWatch shows the commitment these countries have made to stopping malaria deaths on the continent," said CEO of Malaria No More David Bowen. "This program wouldn't be possible without the strong partnership of leading corporations in Africa, including ExxonMobil, which shares our goal of ending malaria deaths."

NightWatch recently won top recognition at the World Petroleum Congress for social responsibility.

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