A New Dawn for Malaria Elimination in Uganda
By Cynthia E. Pacutho, Program Coordinator, Malaria Partners Uganda
Uganda registered a decrease in Malaria cases in 2021 compared to 2020*, amidst the challenges presented by COVID-19 over the two years. Malaria Partners Uganda (MPU) is taking the fresh opportunity presented by a new year to implement a replicable Malaria elimination advocacy model with particular focus on the disease’s socio-economic impact on the country. More than selling death, we will amplify the impact a healthy population in all sectors has on economic growth.
At the heart of the Malaria fight are the community members, whose daily practices have a bearing on the prevention and control of Malaria contraction and death. We shall continue our community engagements through over 200 Rotary and Rotaract Clubs across the country, with major focus on sensitization to trigger a mindset change about the killer disease; consequently, promoting Malaria-smart practices e.g., clearing mosquito breeding grounds, proper use of mosquito nets, growing mosquito repellent vegetation, blood donation, no self-medication etc.
Over the past two years, amidst limited resources, the success of multisectoral collaboration against Covid19 put the effectiveness of stakeholder engagement in the spot light when it comes to fighting disease. MPU will therefor position herself as an apex organization rallying relevant stakeholders for engagement in Malaria advocacy issues, like the Malaria Control and Elimination Bill.
One cannot undermine the influence of government leadership in policy and practice around Malaria eradication. 2022 will see MPU, in partnership with the Uganda Parliamentary Forum Malaria (UPFM), pursue the setup of a Malaria Dashboard in the halls of Parliament to create awareness amongst legislators of the gravity of the disease in each of their constituencies, with an aim of eliciting action. UPFM’s mandate is to advocate for every Member of Parliament to take personal responsibility for their constituency being Malaria-free.
In a nutshell, our strategy this year will entail increased community involvement through Rotary, deeper stakeholder engagement and advocating for Malaria mainstreaming; all in a bid to realize our mandate – the elimination of Malaria in Uganda.
*Ministry of Health, National Malaria Control Program Report (Aug 2021): Trends of confirmed Malaria cases in 2020 & 2021.
Rotarians commemorated World Malaria Day in the Kitwe District and joined in activities that also marked the beginning of Rotary Family Health Days where free medical services were offered to the local community. Malaria testing and treatment was one of the services being offered.
From April 21-23, Rotary District 9213 held its 97th District Conference in Naivasha. The conference saw over one thousand participants and offered an opportunity for Rotarians, Rotaractors, interactors, and guests to discuss and vote on important District matters.
The Outreach Program to Mothers and Pregnant Women at clinics and hospitals in The Gambia was launched, long-delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.