By Goodluck Musinguzi
Thousands of people turned to receive Mosquito nets after being registered by their village health teams and local council leaders supervised by Ministry of Health.
The main objective of this campaign is to increase access and ownership of nets in communities across the country, said Dr Jimmy Opigo the head of Under the Net Campaign and a Commissioner in Ministry of Health.
Dr Diana Atwine, Permanent Ministry of Health appealed to the people to turn up in big numbers so that they receive life saving mosquito nets.
“We expect 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. This will also be an opportunity to educate the population on mosquito net use, care, repair and repurposing”.
A total of three million (3.000.000) mosquito nets covering One million two hundred thousand (1,200,000) households will be distributed during the distribution exercise which will take place from Friday, 8th January 2021 to Wednesday, 13th January 2021, in Kampala and Wakiso.
During the distribution, the five divisions of Kampala will be used as the operational units. These are Kawempe will get 6,493 bales, Makindye 9,107 bales , Rubaga 3,846, Kampala Central 2,551 bales and Nakawa Division gets 6,736 bales.
The distribution exercise involves registration of beneficiaries in all households followed by the distribution of mosquito nets. Our teams comprising of the Village Health Team members and Neighborhood watch will come to your household on Friday 08th and Saturday 09th January, 2021 to register all the members of your household.
Distribution of mosquito nets will take place on Sunday 10th and Monday 11th January 2021 while following all COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). The distribution points will be communicated by your VHTs.
Daniella Mbabazi, a resident Mutungo Zone thanked government of Uganda for efforts to protect them against Malaria disease that is spread by mosquito nets.
“I see majority of the people receiving the mosquito nets are women compared to men. We hope to see men join us before the end of the day”.
Distribution for Kampala and Wakiso Districts was initially slated for December 2020. However, due to the festive season and predictions of the prolonged rainy season in January from the Meteorological Department, Ministry of Health deferred the distribution of mosquito nets in the aforementioned districts. Metrologists have advised that Kampala and Wakiso will remain wet.
Additionally, there is need to protect Kampala and Wakiso residents against Malaria especially with the non immune people having visited upcountry for Christmas. So this distribution exercise is likely to avert a Malaria upsurge in the two districts.
Additionally, as a Ministry, we re-prioritized distribution of mosquito nets to cover districts that were affected by the floods. Increased rains and floods are associated with increased rates of Malaria.
While the Malaria prevalence in Kampala and Wakiso District remains as low as 1%, it is important to note that Malaria kills at least 4 million people in these districts daily.
I appeal to the general public to observe the following;
1. Cooperate and Register with the Village Health team members and neighbourhood watch when the come to your homes for registration on Friday and Saturday this week
2. Report to the designated Distribution points and pick your mosquito nets
3. Sleep under a mosquito net every night to protects you from contracting Malaria
4. These mosquito nets should be used throughout the year, even when there are fewer mosquitoes, e.g. during the dry season, hang the net outside in a shade for 24 hours before using it.
5. Remember to take good care of your mosquito net by keeping it clean and sewing any holes.
6. Always seek medical assistance from qualified health personnel in case you notice signs of Malaria
7. Avoid self-medication
8. Always complete the dosage given to you. Do not stop because you are feeling better
9. Do not share medication among children
10. Clear bushes and stagnant water around your homes, as these are breeding sites for mosquitoes
I implore the leaders to;
1. Mobilize your communities to register their households, receive the nets and use them appropriately
2. Sensitize communities on the proper use and retention of nets
I also appeal to Health Workers both in private and public health facilities to;
1. Sensitize and educate clients on the benefits of adhering to Malaria prevention and control measures
2. Adhere to the Test, Treat and Track Policy guidelines
The government has appreciated all partners who supported the campaign with funds from the Government of Uganda, the Global Fund, Against Malaria Foundation, UK Government/DFID and USAID/Presidential Malaria Initiative. I wish to thank the following partners for their tireless efforts in ensuring the smooth running of the campaign; World Health Organization, UNICEF, The Global Fund, Against Malaria Foundation, United States Agency for International Development, Malaria Consortium, District teams, Village Health Teams and all our partners.
Dr. Diana Atwine, the Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary confirmed the above developments.