By Goodluck Musinguzi
Hon Jane Ruth Aceng , Minister of Health has asked Ugandans to embrace long lasting treated mosquito nets because its one of the strategies in the fight against malaria. Others include lavaciding, indoor spray and treat people whose family members are sick with malaria.
She says the disruption of COVID-19 has affected everyone but we have to remember that malaria disease kills more people than any other disease in Uganda.
Despite the weather conditions,limited transport in some hard to reach areas in Eastern Uganda and Western Uganda, Ministry of Health Staff have pulled off a successful assignment in the distribution of Mosquito nets targeting millions of people.
Government of Uganda is conducting the third Universal Coverage Campaign for distribution of mosquito nets. The campaign dubbed #UndertheNet will see distribution of 27.5 million free mosquito nets countrywide
Pictures of a donkey,bicycles,vehicles stack in mad,health workers walking through flooded areas , the different teams were energized to deliver the mosquito nets.
Dr Diana Atwine, the Permanent Ministry of Health said they are determined to make this campaign a success despite the challenges faced with transport and loss of staff in a road accident.
“We stand with the families of Isaac Mukasa and Dairo Trevor who died in an accident on their way from duty. May God surround you with His strength in this time of grief”,Dr Diana said.
The Distribution of mosquito nets started on Friday 10 July 2020 in 25 districts in Northern ,Eastern region and expanding to other districts.
A total of 4,371,259 nets will be distributed to protect 7,484,520 people against Malaria in the 25 districts.
The campaign intends to increase access and ownership of mosquito nets in communities across the country.It will create a culture of net use,educate the population on care, repair and re-purposing of the net.
High coverage of the bed nets can reduce mortality and morbidity of mosquito-borne diseases including malaria.
Sleeping under insecticide-treated mosquito nets/long-lasting insecticidal nets (ITNs/LLINs henceforth referred to as ITNs) is one of the core interventions recommended by the World Health Organization to reduce malaria transmission and prevent malaria in high-risk communities by preventing mosquito bites.
It costs alot of money on average to treat a bout of malaria, not including the economic cost of sick leave. $26 dollars per person in a household can be much money compared with the challenges of Covid-19 that has wiped off many jobs.
“I would rather sleep under a mosquito net, why not you?”, Jessica a mother of four in Kapchorwa.
The Ministry of Health has trained district task forces plus supporting Net distribution campaign which kicks off with the public address announcement for registration and distribution in many towns and rural areas.
Dr. Joyce Moriku Kaducu, State Minister of Primary Health Care in Uganda has called upon all people to join hands in ending the problem of malaria.
The government of Uganda is aware of Covid-19 and made sure teams distributing nets are well covered.
“Covid-19 smart campaign the Govt procured Personal Protective Equipment to ensure protection of the distribution teams & homesteads against contracting COVID-19. The paper-less campaign will be a door to door distribution, will not encourage mass gathering”.
Dr Jimmy Opigo Assistant Commissioner Ministry of Health,a Medical Doctor, Public health & Systems expert, Program & malaria specialist says Ugandans should avoid self-medication,always complete the dosage given to them.
Opigo says people should not stop medication because they are feeling better and not to share medication among children.
Ministry of Health after fighting off Covid-19 it took off fraction of its time, money and medical support to make sure malaria grand killer is tackled before creates another epidemic.
The Ministry of Health is leading the war against coronavirus war, distributing mosquito nets and masks to millions of people.
President Yoweri Museveni in his Presidential address too off time to salute the health workers who have put their lives on risk and sacrificed to be away from families for the sake of the country.
President Museveni says he appreciates their efforts and hopes their enhanced pay is supported.
Despite the progress made, malaria is a significant public health problem. In 2016, an estimated 216 million cases of malaria occurred worldwide claiming 445,000 lives . About 3.2 billion people in 91 countries are at risk of Plasmodium infection in the world.