In the race to kick Malaria fever out of Uganda, the religious leaders have joined Ministry of Health (MoH) to fight the disease.
Following the specialist World Health Organization (WHO) research, sleeping under insecticide-treated mosquito nets is one of the most effective ways to prevent this tropical disease in Africa.
And since last year MoH has been in the Long Lasting Insecticide Nets (LLIN) campaign in which 24 million are being supplied allover Uganda.
According to MoH’s Dr. Henry Stanley Katamba, religious are very influential in the communities to propagate the messages needed for people to comply with directives, therefore the ministry had to include them in the fight against Malaria.
“At 2%, Kampala and Wakiso are districts with the lowest Malaria prevalence, however because of politics and having people who think these mosquito nets are useless, if their religious leaders tell them about their use it is going to help us.
The religious leaders are going to move together with us during registrations of nets; they will encourage their congregations not only to pick the nets, but to sensitize the people to sleep in them because getting a net is one thing but also using it is another,” Katamba said.
He added: “We brought religious leaders to introduce this campaign to their people because, like all stakeholders, they should get involved in this struggle.
Malaria is every household and everyday people listen to these religious leaders, so they will mobilize on our behalf, be it mosque or church. The religious leaders will the people in registration, distribution and to encourage them to use them appropriately.
However, Fr. Emmanuel Ssekyewa, of Uganda Orthodox church said, “Most people have failed to understand the proper use of these mosquito nets because politics is at its peak in our localities. As a religious leader I need to encourage our people to be aware of Malaria, because it’s the biggest case of sickness in Uganda.”
This is Government’s second campaign of supplying mosquito nets. The first was in 2013-2014 in which 22 million nets where supplied. This time, MoH has involved more international stakeholders like; clubs such as The Lions Club and the Rotary Club.
Treatment cut up to 70%
The clubs have asked MoH to make Malaria treatments free as it was done for Tuberculosis (TB) treatment. However Katamba said that the Government has already subsidized Malaria medicine by up to 70% and also assured its quality. It caters
for the private clinics and the costs in rural areas where a dose is at UGX 4, 000.
Katamba said that Uganda is ranked sixth among African countries in the prevalence of Malaria. As a result it has a high malaria-related mortality rate and has one of the highest reported malaria transmission rates in the world. Malaria accounts for 30%-50% of outpatient visits and 15%-20% of hospital admission.
The result is campaign: “Chase Malaria; Leave No Individual Out”. Registration for households in Wakiso will take place between December 7th and 22nd 2017. Distribution will take place between January 15th and 25th 2018, while the registration for households in Kampala will take place in the first week of February, 2018; and distribution will take place between in the last week of February 2018.