In a bid to reinforce the fight against malaria and gear towards having a malaria-free Uganda, the Minister of Health, Dr Ruth Aceng, alongside the World Health Organisation (WHO) Country representative Dr Yonus Tegegn, has today September 2, 2020, launched the Malaria Free Uganda Board.
The ‘Malaria Free Uganda’ is a public-private partnership put in place to support the National Malaria Control Division of the Ministry of Health to eliminate malaria in Uganda.
Data from the Ministry shows that up to 14 people die from malaria each day. This, statistics indicate, is another crippling burden on the health care units as the country is still fighting against the Covid-19 pandemic.
A new approach
“In response to this heavy burden of disease due to malaria, the Government of Uganda’s National Malaria Control Division (NMCD) has adopted a multi-faceted approach to malaria control and prevention that is embodied in the Uganda Malaria Reduction and Elimination Strategic Plan (UMRESP) 2020/21-2025/26,” said Aceng.
The vision of the UMRESP (2020-2025) is “To Have a Malaria Free Uganda.”
She noted that a good heath system enhances growth and social development in the country.
The people appointed on the ‘Malaria Free Uganda Board are;
- Mr Kenneth Mugisa (Rotarian Malaria Partners Uganda),
- Mr Patrick Bitwture- Chairman Simba Group,
- Solomon Ossiya- Rotarian Malaria Partners Uganda,
- Ms Lillian Ajarova- CEO Uganda Tourism Board,
- Mr Fabian Kasi- CEO Centenary Bank,
- Barbara Mulwana-Chairperson UMA,
- Mr Harrison Mutikanga- CEO Uganda Electricity Generation Company Ltd,
- Ms Proscovia Nabbanja- CEO Uganda National Oil Company,
- Ms Silvia Arinaitwe- Dep MD. NWSCo,
- Julie Kyonkunda -CEO Uganda Biodiversity Fund, and
- Mr Bildard Buguma -MD Joint Medical stores.
In his remarks, the Board Chairman, Mr Ken Mugisha said, “The composition of this board cuts across different sectors and key players in Uganda; business world, banking industry, hotel industry among others. The board is a private and public sector fund involving the corporate joining hands with the private sector in ensuring a malaria free Uganda.”
He also stated that with a combine effort, by 2030, Uganda will be malaria free.
“On behalf of the board, I would like to thank the minister for entrusting us, the people of action, who are going to deliver a malaria free Uganda in the next 10 years,” he added.
Mugisha further revealed that there are many initiatives coming from Corporate Social Responsibility citing that the effect of malaria cuts across all areas.
“There are employees fail to turn up for work because of malaria. This initiative is going to help them participate; make a contribution so that they are uninterrupted at their workplaces,” he said.
It should be noted that the biggest malaria challenge is from Northern Uganda; Karamoja, West Nile, Gulu, and Lira. The Ministry has noted with concern that the rising levels of water around Lake Victoria, have created an increase of malaria cases in the surrounding areas.
Dr Jimmy Opigo, the Manager for the Malaria Control Program at the Ministry of Health, said there is need for multisectoral actors and a mulitisectoral framework has been developed.
He also noted that malaria deaths have come down compared to the past years.
The board members are expected to carry out various roles including malaria advocacy, provision of resources, technical assistance to improve the sustainability of the fight against malaria and provide mutual accountability for making and implementing impactful commitments that will help achieve a malaria-free Uganda.
“Working with several stakeholders, we believe we are going to reach out to the women, children and people in Northern, Eastern Uganda and also to the communities where malaria has increased because of the severe conditions that allow mosquitoes to survive,” Mugisha stressed.
Dr Yonus Tegegn, the WHO country representative to Uganda, said that there is hope to announce a malaria free Uganda, the same way a polio free Africa was announced.