"It is a disease of the poor and it is also a cause of poverty. Malaria causes illness, cripples and kills. Prevention of this disease is important. It is a big constraint to economic development," Museveni said.
PIC: From left state minister for health Sarah Opendi, President Yoweri Museveni and US Ambassador Deborah Malac launch the distribution of mosquito nets in Sheema district. (Courtesy Photo)
HEALTH | MOSQUITO NET DISTRIBUTION CAMPAIGN
SHEEMA - President Yoweri Museveni has directed all district medical officers in the country to maximise efforts in the eradication of malaria.
He also said that there should be mass action by all stakeholders, including households and communities, in the eradication of malaria.
“I direct all district medical officers to maximise efforts to eradicate malaria. The programme has enabled the drastic reduction of malaria in Uganda. It affects the health of our people. It is a disease of the poor and it is also a cause of poverty. Malaria causes illness, cripples and kills. Prevention of this disease is important. It is a big constraint to economic development. In 2017, nine million people were infected and 5,100 people died,” he said.
The President was speaking in Kabwoohe municipality, Sheema district in southwestern Uganda as he officially closed the ‘sleep under a mosquito net campaign’.
Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, launched the countrywide campaign in Apac district in February 2017.
For several decades, malaria has been the leading cause of death in Uganda, claiming over 150 lives daily. Efforts by the Government, in partnership with donors from the international community to combat the disease through the increased access and use of long-lasting insecticide treated nets among the population, presents a ray of hope.
The campaign has been concluded with districts of Bundibugyo, Kagadi and Kasese in western region and Mbarara and Sheema in southwestern region. A total of 19,160,875 nets have been distributed in all the districts of Uganda, surpassing its 85% target.
President Museveni called on the wananchi to stop using mosquito nets for weddings and fishing. He observed that indoor residual spraying was not well-done. He, therefore, tasked the Ministry of Health with ensuring that the spraying is implemented for the welfare of all the people.
He observed that the annual economic growth has been lower in the malaria-affected countries compared to that in the malaria-free ones.
Museveni thanked the donors, especially the government of the US and the Global Fund for supporting Government of Uganda to eradicate malaria.
State Minister for Health in charge of general duties Sarah Opendi, said the malaria campaign was launched in 2009 and that to-date, over 80% of the population had been covered. She reported that economic stagnation was partly caused by malaria infections.
The American Ambassador to Uganda, Deborah Malac, said her country has supported Uganda in the provision of nets, adding that in 2016, children under five had been shielded from malaria through the distribution of nets. The envoy said that the American government remains committed to ensuring a malaria-free Uganda.
The Director of the Malaria Consortium for Eastern and Southern Africa, Dr Godfrey Magumba, expressed delight about the support Uganda had registered in the distribution of mosquito nets.
Sheema LC5 chairman Canon David Babigumira saluted President Museveni for the effective malaria control efforts and revealed that the people of the district were engaged in the production of shoes, soap and soybeans, among other activities.
He introduced the South Korea delegation that is in charge of the promotion of agriculture in Sheema.