By Our Reporter
Bugiri –The commemoration of World Malaria Day in Bugiri district, this year, Uganda launched the Fourth universal coverage campaign dubbed “Under the Net” for the distribution of 28.5 million Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets (LLINs) throughout the country to end Malaria.
This year, World Malaria Day is being commemorated under the theme; Getting back on Track through investing, innovating and implementation.
The main objective of this campaign is to increase access and ownership of nets in communities across the country. This LLIN campaign is further expected to create a culture of net use and sustain the gains achieved by the previous campaigns which led to a reduction in the malaria prevalence.
The campaign will take place in a wave based manner starting with the districts with the highest prevalence of Malaria. The nets will be distributed under the universal coverage concept of one mosquito net per two people. Thus, the number of people in the household will determine the number of nets received in each household. Under Wave I, 17 districts will be covered and these include; Alebtong, Amolator, Budaka, Bugiri, Butaleja, Kaberamaido, Kalaki, Kibuuku, Namutumba, Pallisa, Isingiro, Kakumiro, Lyatonde, Ntoroko, Tororo, Bukedea and Kibaale.
Despite the deployment of recommended malaria prevention and control interventions, it should be noted that Malaria still remains a major public health problem in Uganda affecting nearly 95% of the population. Furthermore, Uganda was ranked 3rd in Global Malaria burden with over 12 million cases reported annually. For every 10 sick people in Uganda, 3 are suffering from malaria. However, there has been a progressive decline in prevalence, malaria morbidity and mortality adherent to the midterm review.
The chief guest at the commemoration event, State Minister for Health in charge of General Duties Ms Anifa Kawooya Bangirana urged health workers to focus on the need and importance to carry out sensitization on the proper use of mosquito nets, on dangers of malaria and on how best the people can ensure they follow and adhere to malaria prevention and control so as to successfully eliminate malaria to zero.
“The Ministry of Health has demonstrated the capability in fighting epidemics starting from Ebola and now Malaria. The Ministry of Health has vigorously embarked on Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) in some of the regions of Acholi, Lango, Teso, Bukedi and part of Busoga and this will continue throughout the country” Kawooya added.
Considering the impact of the IRS program, Bugiri District Woman Member of Parliament, Hon. Agnes Taaka affirmed to Bugiri district being one of the main beneficiaries of the Indoor Residual Spraying for a couple of years now unlike other districts that are just being brought on board to benefit from the IRS program.
Ms Agnes Taaka encouraged people of Bugiri district to do their best to benefit from the fourth universal coverage campaign. She further mentioned to the audience that the function was brought to Bugiri district as another way to rally the people in the district to join in the fight against Malaria in Uganda seeing as Bugiri district is among the districts that highly contribute to the malaria burden in Uganda.
“Join me and we fight malaria together to eliminate the death of our people and children from malaria,” Taaka added as she gave herself publicly to be a Malaria Champion at Parliament level.
She also appealed to the people of Bugiri district to avoid self-treatment and to immediately take their children to health centers in case any signs or symptoms of malaria are sighted in the children.
Conversely, there are several partners in the malaria fight, all of whom are offering a solution of some sort to the malaria burden. Moreover last year, USAID provided Uganda with 5 million treated nets and they supported in the spraying of nearly 1.2 million houses. As of the fourth LLIN campaign, USAID contributed 2.5 million malaria tests and 1.4 million treatments.
USAID has been a leader in the fight malaria, through the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (USAID/PMI). “World Malaria Day is a great opportunity to show our continued commitment to the fight against malaria in Uganda,” USAID – Head of Health said.
Not forgetting the urge made by Dr. Katureebe Charles from World Health Organization (WHO) to all member states to commit to tools and strategies that work in fighting Malaria.
Nevertheless, what is a commemoration without the voice of children? Given that, the representatives of the children at the World Malaria Day commemoration voiced their awareness on malaria being a big threat to the community especially among children. However, they also conveyed their appreciation to the Government of Uganda and other partners for the collective effort put in towards the fight against malaria.