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Closing 2022 on High Note for Malaria in Uganda

 By Abdullah Kayongo, Program Manager, Malaria Partners Uganda

November and December saw a lot of engagement towards malaria prevention in Uganda:

Engaging with Uganda’s Private Sector to tackle malaria.

Malaria Partners Uganda (PMU) joined the private sector meeting with the Federation of Uganda employers (FUE) on November 29th. To date FUE’s capacity has been built through technical assistance to design and implement comprehensive workplace health programs that maximize the accessibility of HIV/AIDS, TB, & Malaria prevention and treatment services and improve use and knowledge of Reproductive Health and Family Planning services and products in rural and urban communities, including workplaces in both formal and informal economy. MPU, with the private sector through its corporate social responsibility approach, shall continue to contribute to improving general health care among the working population and the communities. A number of programs on corporate social responsibility shall be organized and discussed to have positive results towards mitigating the socio-economic impact of Malaria. Key participants included NUDIPU, Dot services, Steel and Tube industries, Reproductive Health Uganda among others. Major areas of concern that MPU looks to address are Company Assessment exercise on health – malaria interventions including, Orientation on Malaria responses, Development of Workplace Malaria Policies, Training of Workplace Malaria Champions, Development and dissemination of Workplace Malaria guide for businesses. A commitment was signed to advance MPU’s advocacy strategy.

Ugandan launch of Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention (SMC)

SMC is the intermittent administration of full treatment courses of antimalarial to children during the malaria season in areas with high transmission. It involves administering monthly courses of sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) and amodiaquine (AQ) during this peak transmission period to those most at risk: children 3–59 months. Seasonal Malaria Chemoprevention (SMC) is included in the Policy as one of the new intervention that should be evaluated before consideration for implementation. Study site; had 3 districts (Moroto & Kotido as intervention districts then Nabilatuk as a control one). The findings informed the implementation research in the 8 districts (Moroto, Kotido, Nabilatuk, Kaabong, Amudat, Nakapiripiriti, Abim and Napak) Its target is to reach 80,000 children in phase l then 135,000-140,000 in Phase ll. SMC prevented 90% Malaria episodes in the intervention Districts according to the implementing partner Malaria consortium. However, MPU recommended the need to intensify the implementation of other interventions to cover adults and address the minimal transmission that continues in between rounds especially through community advocacy.

MPU Board Retreat

As we end 2022, it’s important for the board to have evaluated the ending year and agree on the work plan for the incoming year 2023.It required a retreat where all board members could converge in an arrangement that was held on 3rd December 2022 at Jinja Nile Resort for the board to concentrate on visionary thinking for MPU, and any plan drawn requires resources, and therefore the board discussed the strategies for 2023 and its implementation and review the progress and bottlenecks in 2022. We put together all deliberations in a work plan and advocacy strategy that was approved by the board at the retreat. The major objective was to assess the ending year work plan and give recommendations by the board on current and future (2023) national malaria priorities. We had presentation from the ASS Commissioner National Malaria Control Division Dr. Jimmy Opigo who stressed the need for more national and community advocacy. The board also recommended to have specific targets to weigh on current and future progress.

Midterm Review Meeting

From 21st-24th November at the Commonwealth Resort Hotel Munyonyo, MPU participated in the MTR to evaluate if the intended implementation approaches and delivery of interventions are on course to meet the stated goals and objectives, allowing the country to review strategies and approaches deployed, and their effectiveness to achieve the desired impact.

As part of this process success, solutions for bottlenecks and barriers in implementation will be documented and Mpu shall have an opportunity to present a concept on the basic advocacy objectives and the major ignored role of Rotarians we think vital for this cause. Many recommendations among which emerging resistance to artemisinins: the efficacy of artesunate for treatment of severe malaria should be established, need for research sites in northern Uganda where mutations mediating artemisinins resistance have been found, planned efficacy studies (TES) to inform treatment of uncomplicated malaria, Immediate shift from Fludora fusion to an efficacious insecticide (Actellic) in line with Hon. Minister’s directive, Mortality audit at facility and community levels where every death should be audited / investigated, Quality of care for malaria as this should be assessed in private and public facilities to identify any gaps in care, Review and update the malaria Operational Research Agenda. MPU stressed the need to have Rotarian in the forthcoming LLIN mass campaigns for community advocacy and net proper net use.

Launch of Village Health Trainer (VHT) Training by RC Makindye in December 2022

With support from Malaria Partners International through the Small Grants Program, RC Makindye conducted a training with VHTs of Lower Nsooba to equip the with all the necessary awareness on malaria treatment and guidelines. Key issues included an overview of severe malaria and its impact on pregnant women and children under five, management of malaria, among others. A total of over 100 nets, gumboots, mama kits and equipment was distributed to mothers and VHTs. The project intends to benefit over 300 families in the local area of operation for one year.

2023 brings new life into our work having made it through a devastating upsurge in malaria and threat of an Ebola outbreak.  Health systems strengthening will continue to guide our approach in the treatment and prevention of malaria.

     

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