The Government of Uganda through the Ministry of Health is beefing up strategies to mitigate malaria occurrences despite the urgency of healthcare service delivery that comes with Covid-19 because, officials revealed, malaria is still one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the country.
The Ministry embarked on the ‘Under the Net’ campaign through which Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs) are being distributed to all households across the various regions in the country.
Dr Jimmy Opigo, the head of the Malaria Control Programme re-echoed that this campaign is intended to reduce the malaria prevalence and morbidity.
Although progress has been made in defeating malaria, he said, there are differences in the level of achievement considering some regions that are still highly burdened with malaria.
“In 2009, we had a prevalence of up to 60%. In 2014, we came to 19% and last year, we came to 9%. So, there is so much progress. Unfortunately, the progress is uneven, as Karamoja is close to 30% while West Nile, Busoga and Acholi are high burdened as malaria in those areas is influenced by poverty and poor housing,” Dr. Opigo revealed.
He noted that particular projects are being carried out in the high burdened areas to contain the malaria cases.
“We have been going around the country and we have already given out 26 million mosquito nets. Next, we are going to West Nile, Acholi, parts of South West and East. We are going to give another about 5 million mosquito nets,” Opigo stated.
Adding: “It is government’s effort to protect people. Beyond giving mosquito nets, we are also campaigning for usage of these nets every night and practices that prevent mosquito bites like closing windows in the evenings, applying repellents, spraying their houses and seeking medical care early enough once malaria signs and symptoms occur.”
He further noted that the campaign is emphasizing the need for each member of the household, whether they are house aides or not, to be cared for and be given access to a treated mosquito net every night.
“Even if you are travelling, you can park your mosquito net and move with it,” he advised.
Dr. Opigo instructed that once new mosquito nets are acquired, they should be hung under a shade to allow excess chemical to dissolve.
“There is a little bit of discomfort like itching because of the chemical used. But in a short time, this can go away. We encourage people that when they get a mosquito net, they should hung it under a shade for a day so that the excess chemical goes out. LLINs have been designed to last three years. The chemical has been put in such a way that if you wash the net 20 times, the chemical is gone,” he explained.
He encouraged Ugandans to take up the individual responsibility of ending malaria, “controlling and defeating malaria is a personal responsibility. The best government can do is to give you tools, like mosquito nets. But using it daily is your work.”
Meanwhile, wave 4 of the ‘Under the Net’ campaign is ongoing and there will be a total of 6 waves of the campaign.