In July this year, the government under the Ministry of Health launched a new anti-malaria campaign dubbed “under the net”.
The campaign is aimed at distributing at least 28million long-lasting insecticide-treated nets throughout the country.
Before we delve into the cost of the campaign, which I believe many would be asking as is the behavior today; “another waste of taxpayers’ money, why don’t we spend the money on suffering Ugandans? Etc
One should know that until to date, Malaria remains the leading cause of illness and death in Uganda.
A visit to different hospitals should also give one specific information that Malaria alone counts for fifty percent of outpatient consultations. This means that out of every number at the hospital, 50 percent of slightly below are malaria-related cases.
And onto the financial aspect, at least with each malaria case, a family will spend Shs32,000. This, coupled with decreased productivity that comes with being indisposed greatly affects the economy.
It is true that through government efforts, Uganda had the second-largest reduction in Malaria cases (1.5m). However, Uganda is still the 3rd highest contributor of malaria cases and the 7th highest contributor to malaria deaths according to 2019 WHO’s World Malaria Report.
It is against that background that the government maintains its efforts to completely eliminate malaria as enshrined in the National Resistance Movement (NRM) manifesto of 2016.
At the highest level, H.E. President of Uganda is an active member of the African Leaders Malaria Alliance and has personally signed and launched the Mass Action Against Malaria (MAAM) to drive the country’s elimination agenda.
Furthermore, a Parliamentary Forum for Malaria was formed with the Right Honourable Speaker of Parliament as its patron. The Government has abolished user fees in 2001 to guarantee free treatment in all public facilities and waived government taxes insecticide-treated nets (ITNs), malaria medicines and laboratory supplies.
The launch of the mass distribution of mosquito nets, therefore, is a new wave by the government and the ministry towards the eradication of malaria. Of course, take into account that our citizens will adhere to the rules of the nets.
By end of August, 4.3million nets will have been distributed in districts; 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.
This means that over 7.8million Ugandans will be under the direct cover from Malaria and its effects.
A commendable role by the government of Uganda and the ministry of health to see that Ugandans live health to support the country’s economy.
The writer is a private contributor to the Nile Post