TODAY is World Malaria Day â€” which was instituted by the World Health Assembly at its 60th session in May 2007. The dayâ€™s theme is â€œAchieving Progress and Impactâ€ and marks the international communityâ€™s push towards zero malaria deaths by 2015.
The World Malaria Day is a day for recognising the global effort to provide effective control of malaria.
Malaria remains Ugandaâ€™s leading public health problem. It is responsible for more illness and death than any other single disease in the country. Those with low immunity â€” pregnant women, children under five years and people living with HIV/AIDS â€” are particularly vulnerable.
Malaria is the biggest killer of children under five, between 70,000 and 110,000 deaths annually, and is responsible for the majority of miscarriages and maternal health problems. Uganda has the third highest deaths from malaria in Africa and some of the highest malaria transmission rates in the continent, particularly in the areas around Lake Kyoga where on average; a person receives over 1,500 infectious bites per year.
Against this background, it is good that the Government has prioritised the fight against malaria as part of its overall effort to improve health. The Governmentâ€™s strategy to involve the private sector in the anti-malaria campaign is a step in the right direction. Public-private partnership has worked well in respect of HIV/Aids.
Fight against the malaria scourge, however, requires broader public participation. It is evident, for instance, that in this country there are far more civil society organisations involved in HIV/Aids activities than those involved in fight against Malaria. Thus, while Malaria kills more people in Uganda than Aids, the civil society does not appear to appreciate that it poses a far bigger danger than any other disease. For the Malaria campaign to succeed, local communities must be mobilised to join it.
Let us all join the fight against Malaria