Uganda’s Health Ministry on Tuesday flagged off the distribution of mosquito nets in an effort to fight malaria in the country.
The Government of Uganda is embarking on a nationwide free mosquito net distribution under the “Under the Net” campaign. Under this campaign, one net will be given per two people in a household and over 27 million mosquito nets will be distributed to all countrywide.
According to the state minister for primary health care, Dr Joyce Moriku Kaducu, this campaign that begins on Friday will be a ‘COVID Smart’ campaign.
“This is a COVID-19 smart campaign. The Government has procured Personal Protective Equipment worth USD 3M to ensure protection of the distribution teams against COVID-19,” Moriku said while addressing the media at the Uganda Media Centre on Tuesday morning.
She added, “The main objective of this campaign is to increase access and ownership of nets in communities across the country. This 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. This will also be an opportunity to educate the population on mosquito net use, care, repair and repurposing.”
The Malaria prevalence has significantly reduced from 42% in 2009 to 19% in 2014 and now to 9.2% in according to the Malaria Indicator Survey, 2018/19.
BELOW IS HER FULL STATEMENT
PRESS STATEMENT ON THE NATIONAL MOSQUITO NET DISTRIBUTION CAMPAIGN 2020 (UNDER THE NET)
The Government of Uganda has made significant improvement in the fight against Malaria in the last decade. The Malaria prevalence has significantly reduced from 42% in 2009 to 19% in 2014 and now to 9.2% in according to the Malaria Indicator Survey, 2018/19.
It is because the Ministry of Health (MoH) is dedicated to ensuring that Malaria is addressed at all levels using all available means. Maximum impact on malaria can only be achieved through focusing on the integration of the most effective prevention and treatment tools.
However, despite the above improvements, Malaria is still a disease of major concern but globally primed for elimination. In Uganda alone, Malaria is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality and accounts for over 30% of outpatient visits and 20% of hospital admissions. Everyone in Uganda is at risk of malaria, although pregnant women and children under five years are mostly affected.
It is therefore against the above background that the Government of Uganda is conducting the third Universal Coverage Campaign for the distribution of mosquito nets. The campaign dubbed ‘Under the Net’ will see the distribution of 27.5 million Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets (LLINs) throughout the country.
The main objective of this campaign is to increase access and ownership of nets in communities across the country. This 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. This will also be an opportunity to educate the population on mosquito net use, care, repair and repurposing.
The overall cost of this campaign is USD 120M. Under the campaign, a total of 15 million nets were procured with funding from the Global Fund, 12 Million nets from AMF and while the US President’s Malaria Initiative/PMI has provided logistical support for the campaign.
This is a COVID-19 smart campaign. The Government has procured Personal Protective Equipment worth USD 3M to ensure protection of the distribution teams against COVID-19. These will ensure that teams and homesteads are protected from the risk of contracting COVID-19. The campaign will be a door to door distribution and will not encourage gathering at a specific point as was in the earlier campaigns. The registration and distribution exercise per wave will last only 5 days to reduce interactions with different communities. It is a paper-less campaign as data will be collected in a digital form to reduce contact with paper which could pose a risk for COVID spread.
Having learnt from the government’s home to home food distribution to avoid gathering in line with the Presidential COVID 19 directives; this campaign will follow a similar design.
Our teams (LCs, VHTs and youth) will be fully equipped with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as they move home to home and use digital records utilizing youth smartphones instead of paper that would be a medium for COVID 19 transmission and employing youth currently out of school.
All trainings, advocacy meetings and launches pertaining to the ‘Under the Net’ campaign will be digital and scientific heavily utilizing social media and other new media like blogs.
To further support the COVID fight, the mosquito net campaign sensitization will utilize COVID taskforces at district and sub county levels and fund media space delivering integrated malaria and COVID messages.
Starting Friday 10th July, 2020, 25 districts will be covered under Wave I and these include: Alebtong, Amolatar, Budaka, Bududa, Bugiri, Bukwo, Bulambuli, Butaleja, Butebo, Dokolo, Kaberamaido, Kalaki, Kapchorwa, Kibuku, Kween, Lira Mbale, Namisindwa, Namutumba, Otuke, Paliisa, Serere, Sironko, Soroti and Tororo. A total of 4,371,259 nets will be distributed protecting 7,484,520 people against Malaria in the districts
The subsequent waves and distribution timelines of this campaign are as follows;
Wave 2; 38 districts will be covered. These include: Bukomansimbi, Kalungu , Kiboga, Kyotera, Kyankwanzi, Luwero, Lwengo, Lyantonde, Masaka, Mityana, Mpigi, Nakaseke, Buhweju, Bushenyi, Bunyagabu, Isingiro, Kabale, Rubanda, Kabarole, Kanungu, Kasese, Kakumiro, Kiruhura, Kisoro, Kyenjojo, Mbarara, Mitooma, Ntungamo, Rubirizi, Rukiga, Rukungiri, Sheema, Bundibujo, Ntoroko, Kalangala , Rwampara, Kitagwenda, Kazo. Distribution will take place between July and August, 2020
Wave 3: Kampala and Wakiso will be covered. Distribution of mosquito nets will take place between August and September, 2020
Wave 4: 18 districts will be covered and these include; Hoima , Ibanda , Kamwenge, Kibale, Kagadi, Kikube, Kyegegwa, Buikwe, Butambala, Buvuma, Gomba, Kayunga, Kasanda, Mukono, Nakasongola, Rakai, Sembabule, Mubende. Distribution of mosquito nets will take place between September and October, 2020
Wave 5: 26 districts will be covered. These include: Amuria, Bukedea, Katakwi, Kumi, Manafwa, Ngora, Arua, Adjumani, Agago, Amuru, Apac, Gulu, Kitgum, Koboko, Kole, Lamwo, Maracha, Moyo, Nebbi, Nwoya, Omoro, Oyam, Packwach, Pader, Yumbe, Zombo. Distribution of mosquito nets will take place between October and November, 2020
Wave 6: 24 districts will be covered. These are: Busia, Buyende, Iganga, Jinja, Kaliro, Kamuli, Kapelabyong, Kiryandong, Kwania, Luuka, Masindi, Mayuge, Namayingo, Buliisa, Bugweri, Abim, Amudat, Kaboong, Kotido, Moroto, Nabiratuk, Kareng , Napak, Bugwere . Distribution of mosquito nets will take place between November and December, 2020
APPEAL TO THE PUBLIC
As we start the campaign, I appeal to the general public to observe the following;
- Sleeping under a mosquito net every night protects you from contracting Malaria – So, SLEEP UNDER A MOSQUITO NET EVERY NIGHT
- 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.
- Remember to take good care of your mosquito net by keeping it clean and sewing any holes.
- Always seek medical assistance from qualified health personnel in case you notice signs of Malaria
- Avoid self-medication
- Always complete the dosage given to you. Do not stop because you are feeling better
- Do not share medication among children
- Clear bushes and stagnant water around your homes, as these are breeding sites for mosquitoes
I implore the leaders to;
- Mobilize your communities to register their households, receive the nets and use them appropriately
- 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
Appreciation to partners
The campaign is supported 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.
For God and My Country
Dr. Joyce Moriku Kaducu
Minister for State for Health (Primary Health Care)
07th July 2020