The countrywide distribution of mosquito nets which started this year has so far covered over 70% of the country.
While launching the campaign at the Uganda Media Center in July, Government through the Ministry of Health said they would distribute 27.5m Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets (LLINs). The distribution would be carried out in six phases, each lasting one week.
The Ministry then clustered districts into six waves under the campaign dubbed ‘Under the Net‘. This would be the third universal coverage campaign for mosquito net distributions.
Malaria prevention strategy
In the last decade, Uganda has made significant progress in the fight against malaria. The prevalence rate has reduced from 42% in 2009 to now 9.2% according to the Malaria indicator survey, 2018/19.
The Ministry of Health said despite the improvements made, malaria is still a major concern in Uganda. It is still the leading cause of morbidity and mortality and accounts for over 30% of outpatient visits and 20% of hospital admissions.
Dr. Joyce Moriku Kaducu, the minister of state for health while launching the campaign said Uganda had the capacity to completely rid the country of malaria using Insecticide Treated Mosquito Nets.
“Everyone in Uganda is at risk of malaria, although pregnant women and children under five years are mostly affected, we can however reduce malaria deaths with the proper use of mosquito nets” she said.
She said the main objective of the campaign was to increase access and ownership of nets in communities across the country, and create a culture of net use and sustain the gains achieved by the previous campaigns.
Districts of coverage clustered
The overall cost of the campaign is US$120m. 15 million nets were procured with funding from Global Fund while 12 million nets were from Against Malaria Foundation (AMF). The US President’s Malaria Initiative/PMI, on the other hand, has provided logistical support for the campaign.
Under the first phase, the nets were distributed to 25 districts. These included Alebtong, Amolatar, Budaka, Bududa, Bugiri, Bukwo, Bulambuli, Butaleja, Butebo, Dokolo, Kaberamaido, Kalaki, Kapchorwa, Kibuku, Kween, Lira Mbale, Namisindwa, Namutumba, Otuke, Paliisa, Serere, Sironko, Soroti and Tororo.
Under that phase, a total of 4,371,259 nets were distributed protecting 7,484,520 people against Malaria in the districts.
This was be followed by the second phase which took place between July and August 2020. The districts covered under phase included; Bukomansimbi, Kalungu , Kiboga, Kyotera, Kyankwanzi, Luwero, Lwengo, Lyantonde, Masaka, Mityana, Mpigi, Nakaseke, Buhweju, Bushenyi, Bunyagabu, Isingiro, Kabale, Rubanda, Kabarole, Kanungu, Kasese, Kakumiro, Kiruhura, Kisoro, Kyenjojo, Mbarara, Mitooma, Ntungamo, Rubirizi, Rukiga, Rukungiri, Sheema, Bundibujo, Ntoroko, Kalangala , Rwampara, Kitagwenda, Kazo. The distribution will take place between July and August 2020.
Between August and September 2020, the nets have been distributed in Kampala and Wakiso.
The fourth phase also covered Hoima, Ibanda, Kamwenge, Kibale, Kagadi, Kikube, Kyegegwa, Buikwe, Butambala, Buvuma, Gomba, Kayunga, Kasanda, Mukono, Nakasongola, Rakai, Sembabule, Mubende. Distribution of mosquito nets will take place between September and October 2020.
The fifth phase will cover 26 districts including Amuria, Bukedea, Katakwi, Kumi, Manafwa, Ngora, Arua, Adjumani, Agago, Amuru, Apac, Gulu, Kitgum, Koboko, Kole, Lamwo, Maracha, Moyo, Nebbi, Nwoya, Omoro, Oyam, Packwach, Pader, Yumbe, Zombo. Distribution of mosquito nets will take place between October and November, 2020.
The last phase which will take place between November and December 2020, will cover 24 districts. These are; Busia, Buyende, Iganga, Jinja, Kaliro, Kamuli, Kapelabyong, Kiryandong, Kwania, Luuka, Masindi, Mayuge, Namayingo, Buliisa, Bugweri, Abim, Amudat, Kaboong, Kotido, Moroto, Nabiratuk, Kareng , Napak, Bugwere.
Distribution teams protected from COVID-19
“This is a COVID-19 smart campaign. The Government has procured Personal Protective Equipment worth US$3m to ensure the protection of the distribution teams against COVID-19,” Kaducu said.
She noted that these will ensure that teams and homesteads are protected from the risk of contracting COVID-19.
“The campaign will be a door to door distribution and will not encourage gathering at a specific point as was in the earlier campaigns. The distribution exercise per wave will last only 5 days to reduce interactions with different communities,” she added.
She also said that the campaign will be paper-less. Data will be collected in a digital form to reduce contact with paper which could pose a risk for COVID spread.
She appealed to Ugandans to sleep under the net every night and use them throughout the year.
She urged the public to keep the nets clean and sew any holes that may arise as a result of poor handling.