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Hundreds in Pallisa, Mbale miss mosquito nets

Protect yourself from malaria by sleeping under a mosquito net every night. Courtesy photo

Mbale, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Hundreds of households in Mbale and Pallisa districts missed out on the recent mosquito net distribution exercise by the Health Ministry.

Early this month, government embarked on the nationwide distribution of 27 million mosquito nets beginning with 25 districts in Eastern Uganda including Mbale and Pallisa.

Mbale district received 381,520 mosquito nets against a total population of 488,960 people, according to the 2014 population census. Pallisa district received 184,240 mosquito nets against a population of over 320,000 people.

As a result, households received fewer nets compared to the number of people in the home. For example a household of more than 10 people received a maximum of 6 mosquito nets a figure recommended by the Health Ministry.

Dr. Godfrey Mulekwa, the Pallisa District Health Officer told URN that the number of mosquito nets they received was insufficient to cover the entire population.

He says that although they are yet to ascertain the number of people who missed the mosquito nets, they have received numerous complaints from Village Health Teams and sub county chiefs.

Galex Olukan Ochieng, the Mbale district malaria focal person blames the problem on the Health Ministry which he says underestimated the number of residents.

He says using statistics from Uganda Bureau of Statistics-UBOS and population census wasn’t helpful arguing that a head count would have produced actual figures.

Like Mulekwa Ochieng also said they are yet to ascertain the exact number of people who missed mosquito nets so as to work out modalities to ensure that those that missed also get the nets.

Mbale Resident Commissioner Sulaiman Baraza Ogajjo, says the number of households that missed the mosquito nets in the district is alarming.

He however says this was expected since the Health Ministry didn’t establish the number of people in the district before commencing the distribution exercise.

Kyeyune Ssenyonjjo, the Pallisa Resident District Commissioner says the entire mosquito net distribution exercise was messed up by the Health Ministry which sidelined the district leadership.

He reveals that his office didn’t receive a single document from the Health Ministry specifying the mode of the mosquito distribution exercise.

Burhan Tavuga, the Gangama cell LC I chairperson in Northern city division in Mbale district says he only received 720 nets against a total population of 6000 people.

He wonders why government didn’t take time to register people before launching the mosquito net distribution exercise.

Sarah Muduwa, the general secretary Kilulu zone A in Namanyonyi sub county in Mbale district says over 200 people in her village missed out on the nets.

She says residents have now shifted the blame on their local leaders.

Suleiman Madoi Mutenyo, the LC I chairman Kilulu A zone says he received 520 nets against a population of over 1500 people in the village.

He says 25% of the people in the village didn’t receive nets adding that they have tried reaching out to the responsible authorities in vain.

Lorna Watasa, the chairperson Somero cell in Namatala ward in Industrial city division says they moved door to door in line with the Health Ministry guidelines and distributed one net per two people but still couldn’t cover all the 1000 people in the village.

According to data from the health ministry, malaria kills between 70,000 to 100,000 people countrywide annually. Expectant mothers and children are the most affected.

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