Burkina Faso health authorities plan next year to hand out 6.6 million mosquito nets in a bid to tackle malaria, the main cause of death in the poor west African country, officials said Monday.

Between 46 and 56 percent of annual cases of hospitalisation in Burkina Faso concern malaria patients, but the disease still kills 15,000 people per year, mainly children under five, the health ministry stated.

"The government, with the aid of its partners, plans in 2010 to undertake a national campaign freely to distribute insecticide-treated nets that will cater for the whole population," said Victor Nana, who heads the preventive wing of the National Programme to Fight Paludism (PNLP).

"This will lead us to purchase, for a cost of more than 18 billion CFA francs (27.4 million euros / 40.5 million dollars), 6.6 million insecticide-treated mosquito nets to undertake this campaign," Dr Nana added.

The campaign theme will be "two people, one net" in the country of more than 14 million inhabitants.

Paludism -- or malaria -- is transmitted by the bite of a female mosquito that has already become a carrier of the disease through biting an infected person.

The programme to hand out the nets is financed by the Burkinabe state, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the UN Children's Fund and the World Health Organisation.