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Government launches mosquito net distribution, market fumigation

Permanent Secretary, Dr. Diana Atwine commissioned fumigation at Nakawa market, this morning. PHOTO via @MinofHealthUG

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Government has started fumigating areas around city markets as well as distribute mosquito nets to vendors sleeping there. Launching the program at Nakawa market on Friday, the Health Ministry Permanent Secretary, Dr. Diana Atwine said as the country battles the COVID 19 pandemic, they realised that there is another risk, malaria.

The campaign stems from a directive by President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni to vendors to sleep in the market to eliminate the risk of taking the coronavirus to their homes or picking it from their homes and bringing it to markets.

He also directed the Health Ministry to work with local governments to distribute mosquito nets to vendors and fumigate areas around the market. Atwine says they will provide nets and fumigate all markets in Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono districts in line with the presidential directive.

Atwine says they are working with KCCA to desilt nearby channels that have also become breeding grounds for mosquito. Jimmy Opigo, the Assistant Commissioner Malaria Control Program says it is important to prevent malaria especially now since doctors are occupied with COVID-19.

The Ministry had planned to conduct a nationwide distribution of the mosquito nets but this wasn’t possible because of COVID 19. Opigo says they are consulting to see how best they can distribute nets effectively in this period without aiding the spread of the coronavirus.

He says they have over 10 million nets in their stores from which they will pick some to give to the vendors sleeping in markets.

Dr. Alfred Mubangizi, the Acting Assistant Commissioner Vector Borne and Neglected Tropical Diseases, says they will be spraying all breeding areas around markets to kill the larvae and adult mosquitoes in markets. The team conducting the spray is using pirates, a plants based chemical to spray the mosquitoes.

Nur Nakassi, a dealer in potatoes and cassava in Nakawa market says she has been sleeping in the market since the president issued the directive more than two weeks back. Nakassi, a resident of Kireka, says it has been hard sleeping on hard surface covering and linking stalls.

She welcomed the presidential directive to give them mosquito nets, saying there are so many mosquitoes that made sleeping in the market harder.

Nakawa market the first to be fumigated will be handled on Sunday. The surroundings including identified breeding areas like bushes will be sprayed during day and the market in the nights.

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