Children in Kabarole and Bunyangabu districts have revealed that their parents have denied them chance to sleep under the government provided mosquito treated nets.
In April 2017, government through the Ministry of Health under its nationwide campaign extended distribution of free mosquito nets to all households in the western districts.
However, it has emerged that parents in Kabarole and Bunyangabu districts decided to use them by themselves, lock them in suitcases or keep them under their mattresses in other cases.
Platform for the Needy (PLANE) and Kabarole district health authorities in partnership with Program for Accessible Communication Education (PACE) Uganda, a health NGO found out about the disheartening trend during an anti-malaria campaign they launched.
The groups mid this year embarked on using the drama approach, moving around the sub counties and town councils in the districts of Kabarole and Bunyangabu that have high numbers of people suffering from malaria.
The campaign dubbed: “Community Campaign for Social Mobilization” was aimed at creating awareness among children in primary schools and communities on the proper usage of the nets to prevent malaria.
The campaign provides information on sleeping under treated mosquito nets, clearing bushes around homes, testing among others.
During the drama sensitization campaign at Busiita primary in Bunyangabu, some pupils disclosed that their parents refused to give them the recently distributed mosquito nets.
“My parents received four mosquito nets but kept them in the suitcases. They refused to give us the nets. They said they are harmful to our health,” said a P.2 girl.
Campline Dolice the school head teacher said, “Cases of pupils failing sick because of malaria are common here. It has affected the children’s performance. Government needs to roll out sensitization meeting for parents since they’re responsible and authoritative”.
At Kiamara Primary in Busoro Sub County, the pupils revealed that the parents deny them the mosquito nets and hide them under the mattresses. Others disclosed that the parents had sold off the mosquito nets.
“We don’t sleep under the mosquito nets. Our parents kept the nets under the mattresses and we always fall sick,” Said a pupil.
Another said, “Our parents got the nets and kept them. My mother refused to give us the nets and said she doesn’t know how to use it”.
The school head teacher Kiamara primary Mr. Katuramu Francis commended PLANE and PACE for the initiative to sensitize the pupils but called on them and the government to intensify the campaigns in communities targeting the parents.
This year government has distributed up to 24million mosquito nets under the Malaria Control and Prevention that is embodied in the Uganda Malaria Reduction Strategic Plan to reduce annual deaths from the 2013 levels of 47% to near zero, reduce Malaria morbidity to 30 cases per 1000 population and reduce the malaria parasite prevalence to less than 7% by 2020.
At the event, Dr. Obet Richard, the DHO Bunyangabu said the district is to carry out an operation to arrest all people found misusing mosquito nets.