Rachael Namulondo, a resident of Mutukula village in Iganga district received two mosquito nets in the recent round of distribution. The mother of two folded the mosquito nets and kept them under her pillow.
Several families in Iganga have shunned using the insecticide treated mosquitoes nets distributed by government saying they could be harmful to their health. Early this year, government launched the Universal distribution of insecticide treated mosquito nets across the country. The nets were distributed to each family by village health teams as part of the wider program to prevent the spread of malaria.
Malaria is responsible for 30 to 50percent outpatient visits and 15 to 20 percent admissions in hospitals country wide. It also accounts for 9 to 14percent of in-patient deaths. Rachael Namulondo, a resident of Mutukula village in Iganga district received two mosquito nets in the recent round of distribution. The mother of two folded the mosquito nets and kept them under her pillow. According to Namulondo, she shied away from using the insecticide treated mosquito nets fearing that they could harmful to her health and that of her children.
Night Tasunza, another resident is not any different from Namulondo. Tasunza who leaves in a grass thatched house received one blue insecticide treated mosquito net and kept it away. She explains that she was told the net was treated with insecticide, which made her fear to sleep under it. Tasunza however, told a team of global fund officials led by Caty Fall Saw, the senior Fund Portfolio Manager for Uganda she was advised to hang the net outside for 24hours before she can use it but she has not found the time. It took the intervention of Caty Fall Saw for Tansuza to agree to use the mosquito net.
Namulondo and Tasunza are some of the Ugandans who have benefitted from the insecticide treated mosquito nets provides by the Global fund through ministry of health and TASO. Alfred Ndaye, the LC I chairman Bugobi II zone in Bulopa sub-county Iganga district says 86 households in his area received insecticide treated mosquito nets. Gilbert Bayenda, the Jinja malaria focal person confirms the reluctance amongst some residents to use the mosquito nets. He says usually its people who have used nets before who understand their value.
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Dr. Peter Okwi, the Acting Malaria Control Program manager ministry of health says the number of households that own insecticide treated mosquito nets increased from 16percent in 2006 to 60 percent in 2011.
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While the number of children under five years who sleep under an insecticide treated mosquito increased from 10percent in 2006 to 43percent in 2011. The proportion of expectant women sleeping under an insecticide treated mosquito increased from 10percent in 2006 to 47percent in 2011. Caty Fall Saw, the Senior Fund Portfolio says Global Fund has moved from targeted coverage of under 5years and expectant mothers under phase I to universal insecticide treatment mosquito nets coverage under phase II.
The Global Fund hopes Uganda can make saving off the already disbursed funds to buy an additional four million insecticide treated mosquito nets to achieve universal coverage. The program is jointly being implemented by Government, the Presidential Malaria Initiative, the Department for International Development – DFID and the World Vision.