Govt Asked to Resume Indoor Residual Spray to Contain Malaria

2165 Views Kitgum, Uganda

In short
The call follows reports of a malaria outbreak that has killed 162 people over the last three months in at least 10 districts in Northern Uganda. A total of 22,873 cases were recorded in the districts of Lamwo, Gulu, Kitgum, Oyam and Agago among others, an indicator of a drastically high rate of malaria cases.

The Global Fund Programme to fight Malaria, Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS in Uganda has recommended the resumption of Indoor Residual Spray of mosquitoes in northern Uganda.

While concluding a 4day field trip in Lamwo and Apac districts on Thursday, the board of the Global Fund Programme said the strategy, when combined with other intervention measures will reverse the current malaria epidemic that is straining health care delivery in the region.

The call follows reports of a malaria outbreak that has killed 162 people over the last three months in at least 10 districts in Northern Uganda.  A total of 22,873 cases were recorded in the districts of Lamwo, Gulu, Kitgum, Oyam and Agago among others, an indicator of a drastically" high rate of malaria cases.

Rosemary Ssenabulya, the Vice Chairperson of Uganda Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM), an entity charged with the implementation of Global Fund support says the trend can only be reversed through Indoor Residual Spray (IRS).

Indoor residual spraying (IRS) has been proven as highly effective malaria control measure. It involves the spraying of residual insecticide on the interior walls of homes to kill mosquitoes.
 
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Global Fund supported government of Uganda to distribute 21 million long lasting treated insecticide mosquito nets. These were distributed in 15 selected districts facing high prevalence of malaria in Uganda between 2013 and 2014.
 
In June 2015, the Fund signed new malaria grants worth USD149million to be implemented for two and half years beginning July 1st to continue the fight against the leading cause of illness and deaths in the country.

Malaria Consortium, a non-profit organization specializing in the prevention, control and treatment of malaria, estimates that in Uganda malaria kills between 70,000 and 100,000 people every year.

Ssenabulya says their onsite findings have indicated the need for urgent intervention measures to contain the epidemic from spiraling out of control.
 
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Henry Magala, the Chairperson of Program Oversight Committee under the Country Coordinating Mechanism asked government to confront the epidemic head-on in order to prevent the situation from running out of hand.
 
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Dr. Myers Lugemwa, the Head of National Malaria Control Program at the Ministry of Health says government has undertaken multiple approaches to the epidemic including enhancing capacity of health facilities to better manage the disease, ensuring prompt case management and availability of drugs among others.
 
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About the author

Peter Labeja
Peter Labeja has been a practicing journalist for the last 13 years during which he has covered part of the brutal conflict which bedeviled Northern Uganda as well as the painful transition to Peace thereafter. Emerging post conflict issues such as land rights of under privileged widows and orphans, challenges of access to social services in the immediate aftermath of Lord’s Resistance Army conflict in Northern Uganda.

Labeja is now the Northern Uganda Bureau chief in Acholi Sub Region since 2014 - Gulu, Amuru, Nwoya and Omoro districts as well as South Sudan falls within his areas of jurisdiction. He previously worked with The Vision Group for four years.

Labeja’s major career interests are in Climate Change; Agriculture and Environment - natural resources such as Water, Oil and Gas; Transitional Justice; Human Rights, Democracy and Governance as well as South Sudan’s humanitarian crisis. In 2013, Labeja was awarded a prestigious Pan African Journalism Award for excellence in journalism at United Nation’s UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya for Climate Change and Health Reporting.