In an attempt at living with COVID-19, the government of Uganda, under the Ministry of Health has rolled out a ‘Covid-19 Smart campaign’ dubbed “Under the Net” which will see the distribution of 27.5 million Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets (LLINs) throughout the country.
While the Government of Uganda has made significant improvement in the fight against Malaria in the last decade, with Malaria prevalence significantly reducing from 42% in 2009 to 19% in 2014 and now to 9.2% in according to the Malaria Indicator Survey, 2018/19, despite the improvements, Malaria is still a disease of major concern globally primed for elimination.
“In Uganda alone, Malaria is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality and accounts for over 30% of outpatient visits and 20% of hospital admissions. Everyone in Uganda is at risk of malaria, although pregnant women and children under five years are mostly affected,” Dr. Joyce Moriku Kaducu, Minister for State for Health (Primary Health Care) stated at the launch.
Injecting a whooping USD 120Million, the Government of Uganda is conducting the Third Universal Coverage Campaign for the distribution of mosquito nets with the main objective of increasing access and ownership of nets in communities across the country. This campaign is further expected to sustain the gains achieved by the previous campaigns, create a culture of net use and educate the population on mosquito net use, care, repair and repurposing.
To ensure the success of this ‘Covid-19 smart campaign’, the Government has procured Personal Protective Equipment worth USD 3M to ensure protection of the distribution teams and homesteads against contracting COVID-19. The paper-less campaign will be a door to door distribution, will not encourage gathering at a specific point as was in the earlier campaigns and distribution exercise per wave will last only 5 days.
Starting Friday 10th July, 2020, 25 districts will be covered under Wave I and a total of 4,371,259 nets will be distributed, protecting 7,484,520 people against Malaria in the districts. Wave 2 will cover 38 districts, with distribution taking place between July and August, 2020. Wave 3, Kampala and Waksio will be covered. Distribution of mosquito nets will take place between August and September, 2020.
Wave 4, 18 districts will be covered. Wave 5, 26 districts will be covered and finally wave 6 covering 24 districts and closing the year in December 2020.
The campaign is supported with funds from the Government of Uganda, the Global Fund, Against Malaria Foundation and USAID/Presidential Malaria Initiative among many more contributors.
Photo credit: Arthur Musinguzi