By Raymond Baguma
KAMPALA - President Yoweri Museveni wants people who misuse insecticide treated mosquito nets to be imprisoned because, he says, they sabotage government efforts to eradicate malaria.
“It’s a shame that people are misusing mosquito nets to trap white ants and as fishnets. We need a regulation to deal with these people. Those doing this should know that Luzira (prison) still has space,” said Museveni.
He was speaking at the function to mark the final distribution of insecticide treated bed nets and closure of the one-year campaign to achieve universal mosquito net coverage in Uganda.
The event took place at St. Martin primary school’s playground in Mulago.
People received insecticide-treated mosquito nets. PHOTO/Abu Mwesigwa
But in her explanation, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, the Director General of Health Services said whereas the Public Health Act spells out that people that don’t adhere to public health programmes are supposed to be dealt with, the law does not provide for a jail term.
According to the ministry of health, malaria is endemic to 95 percent of the country.
Malaria accounts for 15-20 percent of in-patient admissions, and 30-50 percent of out-patient attendance and 9-14 percent of all in-patient deaths in the country’s health facilities.
Also, close to 50,000 people die every year due to malaria and these include majority pregnant women and children below five years.
Under the distribution plan, 988,082 households in Kampala and Wakiso districts, representing over 4 million people will receive at least one bed net per household.
Additionally, each household with either an expectant mother or a child under 5 years will receive an additional mosquito net.
President Museveni recieves mosquito nets for him and his family from the British High Commissioner to Uganda Alison Blackburne as the American Ambassador to Uganda Scott Delosi and the Health Minister Ruhakana Rugunda look on. PHOTO/Abu Mwesigwa
The programme to distribute mosquito nets began in May last year.
At the time of closure, over 21 million bed nets have been distributed in all the 112 districts of Uganda to achieve universal coverage at a rate of one net for two people in a household.
The mosquito nets were procured with support from Global Fund, the United Kingdom and United States Governments, World Vision, Malaria Consortium and the US Presidential Malaria Initiative.
Aisha Kabanda, the Kampala Resident City Commissioner said that they would soon move from house-to-house to check on if people are properly using the bed nets given to them.
Museveni wants jail for people misusing bed nets