Universal Mosquito Nets Coverage Eludes Uganda

Audio 1

Insecticide-treated nets have been identified as the most effective measure in prevention of malaria. Despite this only about half of the 32 million Ugandans sleep under an insecticide treated mosquito net.

Early this month, Ministry of health published a report indicating that public awareness about the importance of using mosquito nets has increased. However, the report showed that poverty was limiting the purchase of nets.

The government and donors have since 2005 been offering free treated nets but the report says only 6 million nets are in households across the country. Alex Opio, Assistant Commissioner in Charge of National Disease Control says that they set out to reach about 80 percent of the population. He however says that they have reached their target.

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According to Opio the distribution of free mosquito nets was affected by the suspension of the Global fund because of corruption. He however says that Ministry of Health with funding from the Global fund on TB and Malaria plans to distribute 17 million nets across the country to achieve universal coverage.

The distribution under phase 7 of the Global Fund will target expectant and breast feeding mothers

Beatrice Rwakmari, Ntungamo District Woman MP says that about forty percent of her electorates own nets. She however explains that there have been some problems in the distribution of nets in some areas.

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Elise Ayers, the Chief of Health Education at US Agency for International Development advises the ministry of health to introduce a better tracking method to ensure that the nets reach the intended beneficiaries.

He says there is need to educate some communities on how to use the nets for effective control of malaria.

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The Malaria Indicator Survey shows that North Eastern Uganda has the biggest percentage of treated nets while areas in Central and mid western Uganda have lowest coverage.