Dr. Francis Odeke, the Serere District Health Officer, says that they have continued to register many malaria cases in health facilities across the district even after IRS. He says that malaria cases in Akoboi Parish in Atiira Sub County almost became a pandemic last month that stretched health systems in the district.
The Indoor Residual
Spray-IRS conducted by the Ministry of Health to control malaria cases in
Serere district has had very little impact according to health authorities. Serere district had its second IRS in April this year, which covered 98.9
percent of the households.
The district used Fludora Fusion insecticide. Actellic
chemical was used in the first Indoor Residual Spray exercise. Dr. Francis Odeke, the Serere District Health Officer, says that they have
continued to register many malaria cases in health facilities across the
district even after IRS.
He says that malaria cases in Akoboi Parish in Atiira
Sub County almost became a pandemic last month that stretched health systems in
the district. Dr. Odeke told our reporter that on average, Serere HC1IV alone receives
between 20-30 malaria cases daily. This is similar or worse than the number of
malaria cases recorded before the IRS.
He says that a team of scientists is
conducting investigations to establish factors responsible for high malaria
prevalence even after the spraying exercise.
//Cue in “Before the spray…
Cue out…trying to investigate,”//
Serere is among the 14 districts where the Ministry of Health in partnership
with the United States Agency for International Development- USAID spearheaded IRS. The district is
surrounded by Lake Kyoga, whose banks have continued to burst, giving room for
mosquitoes to breed. Joyce Akello, a resident of Abola village in Bugondo Sub
County, says that the mosquitoes are now uncontrollable.
“These days, by 7:00 pm, you cannot stay outside the mosquito net”, she said. The mother of three
says that she treats her children almost twice every month for malaria. Malaria is the leading cause of sickness and death in Uganda and accounts for
30 to 60 percent of outpatient visits and 15- 20 percent of hospital admissions,
which puts a huge burden on the Ugandan health system.
IRS is a five-year
project that started in 2018 ending in 2022. Besides IRS, the government has been
distributing long-lasting insecticide mosquito nets to almost all households in
Uganda with Serere and other districts benefitting more than twice.