Kumi Men Steal Bed Nets to Buy Alcohol

2336 Views Kumi, Uganda
Men in Kumi have been accused of stealing insecticide treated bed nets from their wives. Felix Ocom, the Kumi District Health Officer, revealed that he has received numerous reports that some men are forcefully taking the bed nets distributed to their children and pregnant wives. He said they are unhappy that they are not given priority in the bed net distribution and are robbing their wives of protection against malaria-transmitting mosquitoes. Addressing a news conference at Kumi Hotel, Ocom said government and health-related NGOs are frustrated that their efforts to protect pregnant mothers and children from malaria are being thwarted by the selfishness of some men. He said the situation has been made more deplorable by the fact that the men do not use the nets themselves, but sell them to get money to buy alcohol. The Ministry of Health has partnered with several international and local NGOs to distribute free insecticide treated bed nets to expectant mothers and children under the age of five. These two groups are particularly vulnerable to malaria, which is a major cause of maternal and infant mortality in Uganda. Last week the UN refugee agency and the United Nations Foundation's "Nothing But Nets" campaign announced a partnership to help eliminate malaria deaths in refugee camps. Under it more than 630,000 refugees living in camps in Uganda, Sudan, Kenya and Tanzania will receive long-lasting, insecticide-treated bed nets. A statement announcing the partnership said more than 275,000 bed nets are needed to protect the refugees living in temporary camps. With the next rainy season approaching, malaria looms as a major threat to the inhabitants of these refugee camps, which are comprised primarily of women and their children. Malaria is the largest killer of refugees, and bed nets are considered to be the most cost effective way to prevent malaria.