Uganda Launches Malaria
Uganda Thursday launched a malaria
prevention programme which hinges on the provision of
insecticide-treated nets to avert over 100,000 deaths caused by
the Anopheles mosquito-spread disease in the country annually.
Health ministry officials confirmed that malaria is the leading cause
of deaths and illnesses in Uganda today. Almost a
quarter of deaths of children under five are caused by malaria.
Many of these deaths can be prevented.
"The overall objective of the Uganda national malaria control
to prevent mortality and reduce morbidity
and to minimise the social and economic costs and losses due to
malaria," Dr. Dennis Lwamafa, head of the programme, said.
Only six districts would initially get the nets under the strategy
"Smartnet," which was co-launched in Kampala by
the health ministry and the US Agency for International
The co-sponsors have asked the Commercial Marketing Strategies Project
CMS, which popularised "Protector" condoms
and other reproductive health products, to create demand for
USAID has provided CMS with 450 million shillings (250,000 US dollars)
the marketing project.
"Smartnet is a revolutionary malaria prevention net that does not need
re-treatment for up to 22 washings and costs far
less than what a typical family spends on malaria treatment each
year," Deus Mubangizi, the CMS marketing manager, said.
Ugandan households spend on average more than 40,000 shillings on medication to treat malaria every year. Health
officials say insecticide treated nets could reverse this trend.
"Investing as little as 9,500 shillings in a treated net such as smartnet
would save families money," Mubangizi said.
Less than a quarter of all households in Uganda use nets and only a
handful of those nets are treated with insecticide.
"We must seek to increase the number of people sleeping under treated
nets and we must ensure that those most vulnerable
to malaria are using the nets," US deputy ambassador Donald
Mubangizi added: "Smartnet is pre-treated with a safe and effective
icide that prevents mosquitoes from biting even
through the net. that's why we call it the ultimate malaria
The project sponsors hope that pregnant women and children under the
f five, who are most at risk of malaria, would be
the first to use Smartnet.
Malaria complications in pregnant mothers include abortions,
under-weight babies and severe anaemia.
Smartnet will be widely available in shops, clinics and pharmacies in
six districts and later spread countrywide
within the year.
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