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Health Ministry Launches Crackdown On Misuse of Mosquito Nets

The Ministry of Health has set up a national taskforce to stop the misuse of mosquito nets delivered by the government.

The teams will be led by Resident District Commissioners who will be deputised by district health officers. Each district team will have committee members who will include: district vector control officers and district surveillance officers.

Also sub country taskforces have been formed to closely monitor operations at the community level. The sub-county taskforce is comprised of seven members headed by the sub county chief, health educator, health assistant and a representative from the community.

The ministry says the taskforces at village level will be supported by the local council one (LCIs), village health teams and the police who will monitor the operations at parish level.

According to the ministry of health, the teams are going to monitor the rampant misuse of mosquito nets. This comes as many people use government supplied mosquito nets to protect their nursery beds, sew wedding dresses or even use them for fishing.

Dr. Henry Mwebesa, the director general of health services says they have decided to set up taskforces to stop the abuse of nets that usually follow mass campaigns.

He says village health teams will move around in communities to ensure that people are using the nets in the right way. Dr. Mwebesa says this way, they believe people will use them better for their intended purpose.

“Village teams have been asked to move from house to house to monitor the use of these nets. They have also been assigned to continually sensitize the communities on the proper use of nets, net care, net repair and net repurposing,” he said.

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In addition to this, the task force will also investigate cases of theft of nets or re-sell of the nets. “We have received a number of reports that some random individuals have resorted to selling recently distributed mosquito nets to raise money due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Mwebesa said in a statement.

Data from the ministry of health shows that the number of malaria deaths and cases in the country increased last year. According to the ministry of health, last year, the prevalence of malaria in the country shot up and now stands at 15 per 100,000 people of the population compared to 8.3 in 2018/19.

Dr. Jimmy Opigo, the head of the malaria control programme says the increase in cases was due to heavy rains and defunct mosquito nets.

“Mosquito nets’ use is one of the easiest ways Uganda has used to bring down the prevalence of malaria. However last year, some of the nets had grown old while some had holes and probably this led to what we saw,” he added.

Government is conducting the third universal coverage campaign for the distribution of long lasting insecticide treated mosquito nets intended to reduce malaria mortality and morbidity through the use of mosquito nets.

A total of 27.5 million are expected to be given out covering the entire country by February 2021. So far, a total of 92 districts have been covered in three waves which commenced in August 2020.

The next wave of the campaign will see the distribution of the mosquito nets in; Nakasongola, Bugweri, Busia, Kamuli, Namayingo, Buvuma, Kassanda, Mubende, Ssembabule, Kwana, Zombo, Yumbe, Terego, Pakwach, Omoro, Obongo, Nwoya, Nebbi, Moyo, Maracha, Madi Okollo, and lastly Pader.

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