By Goodluck Musinguzi
Ugandan’s top Malaria Expert, Dr Jimmy Opigo says Malaria disease in Uganda is mostly caused by the Anopheles Gambiae Sensu Lato a dangerous mosquito.
Dr Opigo in an exclusive interview with Kigezi News, said the threat posed by this tiny mosquito is in great proportions. He says he sleeps under the Mosquito Net as an example to all people.
“Thousands of people have died because Anopheles Gambiae Sensu Lato in Uganda. We ask Ugandans to join in the fight against this mosquito, it breeds in our communities and becomes hard to eliminate”, said Opigo.
There is another type of mosquito called anopheles funestus mosquitoe that is also responsible for causing malaia disease in some areas.
The potential range of the two species in Uganda explains why malaria disease is killing the most people in Uganda.
Anopheles Gambiae Sensu Lato prefers the hot and humid climate on the Equator. It has has colonized states in the Tropical regions as far as Democratic Republic of Congo and other countries.
The Asian tiger mosquito, meanwhile, also favors tropical and subtropical locales but can withstand cooler temperatures, so it can range farther.
And only female mosquitoes bite.
They primarily bite humans, rather than other animals, and they like to feed indoors. The combination makes them particularly dangerous when it comes to spreading disease.
They are also fidgety. They will eat several partial meals on multiple victims, called sip-feeding. It is one way they pass pathogens.
Females draw blood to nourish their eggs. They prefer to lay them in clean water, including birdbaths, clogged gutters, pet bowls, bottle caps and even shower drains. The eggs stick to the sides of containers and can survive drying out.
The mosquitoes have a nasty habit of feeding on the lower extremities, so they can be difficult to spot. And their bites are barely perceptible.
The Government of Uganda will be distributing mosquito nets for the second time in the 5 years since 2016 which was the election year.
Dr Diana Atwine, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health said they delayed to distribute long lasting treated mosquito nets because of COVID-19 pandemic that shut down the World.
“We had planned to give out the treated mosquito nets in the third quarter of financial year 2019/2020(January, February and March) but the pressure of COVID-19 was evident”, said Dr Diana.
Our target is to distribute 27 million mosquito nets to every household so that we reduce malaria to zero. We have already started with Wave One and Two.
The National Malaria Control Program under Ministry of Health is mandated to provide quality assurance assured services for Malaria prevention and treatment to all people in Uganda.
The Uganda Malaria Reduction Strategic Plan provides a framework for all stakeholders to accelerate nationwide scale up. Malaria reduction intervention by the government and other stakeholders
Government is distributing mosquito nets to make sure they reduce the mortality rate. Its important for people to sleep under the net so that when another report comes out mortality rate should be reduced.
In May 2019, the country experienced a malaria epidemic. This affected over 80 districts. The epidemic was attributed to the prolonged rains and aging of the insecticide treated long lasting nets (ILLNs.)
The most affected were districts in northern Uganda. In response NMCD;
Supplied emergency anti-malarial commodities to districts
Distributed 582,659 mosquito nets to affected districts across the county
Conducted blood transfusion drives in conduction with rotary and Uganda blood transfusion service
Supported 50 districts to hold epidemic task force meetings
The affected districts have gradually reduced from 91 in week 31(peak of the epidemic) to 47 (35%) by the close of this quarter in week 12.
The reduction could be attributed to the intensified case management, larval source management, and mosquito net distribution in the country.
Insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs) have contributed substantially to declines in malaria morbidity and all-cause mortality across sub-Saharan Africa.
ITNs prevent mosquito blood feeding by physically inhibiting human-mosquito contact and by chemically deterring, irritating, and killing mosquitoes.
The physical barrier of the ITN prevents mosquito entry, while the pyrethroid treatment induces mosquito excito-repellency and causes paralysis leading to mosquito death.
At high levels of coverage, ITNs reduce the overall density and life-span of mosquito populations, resulting in community-wide malaria protection both for those sleeping under ITNs and for neighbouring non-users of ITNs.
The use of older nets and nets with holes compared to no use of nets was associated with reduced odds of malaria in cross-sectional surveys of children in Benin, Equatorial Guinea, and Malawi; however, the protective effect decreased with increasing deterioration of the nets.
In Malawi, which has moderate levels of pyrethroid resistance, repeat analysis of cross-sectional survey data for 3 years following a national distribution campaign found that ITN use was associated with reduced prevalence of malaria in children aged 5–15 years (school-aged), but associations were null among other age groups.
A health facility-based case–control study conducted in children aged 6–59 months found no significant personal protective effect of ITNs approximately 1 year after ITNs were distributed in an area of moderate pyrethroid resistance in Malawi .