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Ministry of health asked to distribute more effective mosquito nets


Dr. Jane Ruth Acing minister of health

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Government has been asked to pay more attention to scientific evidence in its control and elimination programmes. 

Speaking at an inaugural lecture on science in malaria control on Tuesday, Dr  James Kananura Tibenderana a global malaria expert said while Uganda has programmes that could deliver the country to elimination levels, some gaps need to be given specific attention.  

He said, for instance, the Ministry of Health needs to be deploying more effective bed nets in the face of increasing reports of resistance to Pyrethroid the chemical used in treating the bed nets. 

On Friday, the Ministry announced that they would be delivering a total of 3.8 million free insecticide-treated mosquito nets to twelve districts in Busoga and Bunyoro regions an exercise that will end a distribution exercise that started in June last year.  

A total of 27. 5million nets have been distributed and now  Tibenderana who is also the Technical head of the International NGO Malaria Consortium says the government should be thinking about the next generation of nets in preceding campaigns with a lot of research being churned out.  

He says elimination requires having a rapid response that can be implemented by both the private and the public sector. 

Currently, the disease is still rated among the leading causes of illness and death in Uganda, gravely impacting health and productivity. 

A total of 13.4 million cases of malaria were confirmed in Uganda in 2019 whereby 4,000 of these ended in death. The figures for 2020 are not yet to be released but the Ministry of Health says transmission rates are generally lowering with prevalence dipping from 14% five years ago to 9% currently.  

Tibenderana says the reduction of transmission should inform healthcare managers to change approach especially in detecting infections from using population-based surveys to a case by case scenarios to be able to understand where we stand on the journey of elimination.  

Tibenderana says that it may take Uganda two more decades to think about elimination even as the Ministry had earlier set to reduce annual malaria deaths to near zero by 2020, reduce malaria morbidity to 30 cases per 1000 population and reduce the malaria parasite prevalence to less than 7% by last year. 

All these targets weren’t met. 

Dr Jimmy Opigo who heads the Malaria Control Programme in the Ministry of Health says they have done modelling and have realized Uganda will soon reach malaria elimination levels noting that they have already done zoning in Kigezi areas and developed a prototype to guide in elimination. 

He said that regarding nets, they are continuously monitoring for any changes that may arise.  

He adds that their areas they want to understand further before they can adopt innovations in malaria control and prevention saying that a study has been done by Makerere University to guide them on prevention efforts whose findings they have already adopted.  

However, Opigo agrees that government efforts alone will not enable the country to eliminate the disease. 



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