The Health Ministry Permanent Secretary Diana Atwine has this Tuesday flagged off the distribution of mosquito nets across Uganda.
Atwine said the first wave of nets will go to 25 districts which were selected depending on the disease burden.
“We are starting with districts that were affected by flooding in the Eastern region and those, most especially in Northern Uganda, that have recorded higher cases of malaria,” said Atwine during the event at National Medical Stores (NMS) headquarters in Entebbe.
The distribution of the nets will be carried out by NMS.
According to the Health Ministry’s annual report for the year ending 2019, the leading causes of death among all ages in FY 2018/19 were malaria (13 percent), pneumonia (8.2 percent), injuries (7.1 percent), other neonatal conditions (6.5 percent) and premature baby (6.5 percent).
Among children under 5 years, malaria was the leading cause of death with 3,077 deaths reported whereas, among the adults, injuries were the leading cause of death with 1,968 deaths recorded.
In the financial year, 2018/2019, inpatient malaria deaths reduced by 11.5 percent to 8.3 per 100,000 from 9.38 per 100,000 in 2017/18 but still below the Health Sector Development Plan (HSDP) target of 5 per 100,000 as envisioned in the Malaria Reduction Plan.
Similarly, the number of malaria cases per 1,000 persons decreased to 14 per 1,000 from 293 per 1,000 in 2017/17.
Up to 85 percent (8,724,772/10,224,552) patients diagnosed with malaria were Lab. Confirmed compared to 72% (7,942,257/11,062,306) in 2017/18.
Atwine said for the first time Global Fund and partners are entirely using government systems to implement a programme of this nature.
“We’ve flagged-off distribution of Mosquito Nets to districts pending official launch,” said Atwine, adding, “We are grateful for the confidence developed and pledge optimal performance.”
Atwine said the Ministry has “developed ICT capacity to account for every single mosquito net given to every single household through a robust mobile phone reporting system. For all batches delivered, a detailed message will be sent to key stakeholders from National to local area level for follow up.”
The distribution of the nets were expected to start much earlier only for the process to be disrupted by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We were not able to start as scheduled because of the lockdown but now that it has been partially lifted, we can continue as planned,” said Atwine.
“We will be distributing over 27,000,000m nets to all districts in Uganda. We expect to complete this exercise by the end of this calendar year,” she emphasised.
Regarding employment opportunities during the exercise, Atwine observed: “Recruitment is still ongoing. We just settled-in our secretariat to manage the campaign and selection is ongoing for the other teams to support the districts, sub counties and lower local units. These are the staff that will support the data component using mobile gadgets.”