It is an incontrovertible fact that malaria is a deadly disease, which claims the lives of many people annually, especially children in the developing world.
Here in our own neck of the woods, the case is no different and this has prompted the authorities to embark upon a massive drive to distribute mosquito nets to various parts of the country in a bid to protect wananchi from the disease.
In light of this, the media reports late last week which said that Korogwe residents are using mosquito nets as fishing nets, made for extremely disturbing reading indeed.
According to the reports, the residents of Korogwe district, Tanga Region, could not afford to buy fishing nets, so instead they decided to use the mosquito nets, which had been distributed to them free of charge by the authorities, as makeshift fishing nets.
Apparently, there was an urgent need for fishing nets in the district as the water level of the Ruvu River had increased due to the rains in the Pare Mountains, which had also given rise to an increase in the fish population in the river.
Indeed, all this paints a hugely unsettling picture of a lack of understanding about mosquito nets and their importance in the fight against malaria.
Certainly, no one can dispute the importance of fishing activities as they are a source of livelihood for many people in the district.
However, these activities should not be carried out at the expense of the battle against malaria which crucially is aimed at saving lives.
Fishing is done to help people survive and make a living for themselves and their families. Likewise, mosquito nets are provided because they are also essential for the survival and health of the people.
Thus, one should not be allowed to negate or cancel out the other.
Indeed, stories abound about the misuse of these mosquito nets in different areas of the country.
Some for instance, even use these mosquito nets as bedroom curtains in the mistaken belief that they can keep out the mosquitoes from entering the bedroom through the windows.
This just goes to show that there is an enormous need for an infinitely more aggressive drive to sensitize the people on just how vital it is to use mosquito nets as they were intended to be used.
After all, we should not forget that we are at war with malaria and this battle requires us to do things properly and this certainly does not mean using mosquito nets as fishing nets or window curtains.