By Dr. Derick Pasternak, Ambassador, Malaria Science & Research Coordinator, MPI
Uganda will join the world Malaria community every 25th of April to commemorate the World Malaria Day. The aim of the World Malaria Day is to provide education and understanding of Malaria as a global scourge that is preventable and a disease that is curable. A major component of the World Malaria Day is the observance of an ‘Anti-Malaria Month’, during which wide awareness campaigns are undertaken at all levels of implementation to promote inter-sectoral collaboration and community action for malaria control. The World Health Assembly instituted World Malaria Day in May 2007.
The purpose of the event is to give countries in affected regions the chance to learn from each other’s experiences and support one another’s efforts. World Malaria Day also enables new donors to join in a global partnership against malaria, and for research and academic institutions to reveal scientific advances to the public. The day also gives international partners, companies and foundations a chance to showcase their efforts and reflect on how to scale up what has worked. The World Malaria Day gives people the chance to promote or learn about the efforts made to prevent and reduce Malaria around the world.
The World Malaria Day is a chance for malaria-free countries to learn about the devastating consequences of the disease and for new donors to join a global partnership. It is an occasion for countries in affected regions to learn from each other’s experiences and back each other’s support. It is also an opportunity for international partners, companies and foundations to showcase their results and reflect together on how to scale up what has been proven to work.
Goal of World Malaria Day
The goal of the day is to re- energize commitment to the fight against malaria.
To sensitize the public on the trends and its effects on national development efforts.
To generate effective actions by local communities, organizations and government for long lasting impact in the fight against malaria.
To re-enforce the call for the Mass Action Against Malaria
This year’s World Malaria Day will be commemorated under the global theme; Time to deliver Zero Malaria: Invest, Innovate, Implement
OUR THEME “Advocacy for better health” suggests the need to own the malaria fight through increased understanding of the social- economic effects of the disease since malaria funding in Uganda is at about 95% donor decency which is threat for the country.
This therefore calls for the urgent need to invest in the local resources. The theme also reminds the country of the need to carry on with research to discover the unknow tools for malaria control and elimination and the need to ensure timely implementation of the approved tools.
Additionally, Tororo has just recently concluded the Indoor Residual Spray which experienced high resistance, mistrust, mischiefs, myths especially in the urban areas that malaria is witch craft among others and this has exacerbated malaria severely and death at the health facilities and communities at large. It is therefore requiring concerted efforts in ensuring that everybody takes up their responsibilities in the fight against malaria.
Similarly, the national theme Getting back on track through investing, innovation and implementation is against the background that the country is grappling with malaria epidemics in many regions and despite availability of the efficacious tools, the epidemic seem to be taking longer and hence a need to re-energize the efforts.
- Profile of Tororo District
The district has a total population of 565,700 people (Projected from the 2014 census). About 89% of the total population is rural. There are 30 rural Sub Counties, 10 town councils and 2 Municipal Divisions in Tororo district.
There are 62 Public health facilities; 5 hospitals, 3 HC IVs, 18 HC IIIs, 36 HC IIs and 56 clinics.
Commemoration Event in Tororo District.
Malaria Partners Uganda in collaboration with Tororo District Health Department, Rotary Club of Tororo, Rotary club of Sam Owor and Ministry of Health shall conduct a commemoration event in Tororo district.
Expected activities for the Commemoration event;
1. Medical camp
In partnership with RC Tororo and RC Sam Owor, we shall assemble a team of medical personnel as approved by Tororo district health Officer to man a medical camp. The Medical Camp shall focus at helping the community access cheap and subsidized as well as free medical attention on that day such as free malaria testing and treatment, deworming, immunization. Other services intended to be extended include Breast, Prostate and Cervical Cancer Screening, Hepatitis B & HPV, HIV/AIDS testing and counseling among other ailments.
Considering the population of the area, and the distance from the nearest Government Health Facility, we anticipate that there will be a huge turn up of numbers beyond 300 (both the young and adults).
We believe that at the end of the Camp most persons who will have turned up will have had an opportunity to be diagnosed, treated and those not treated referred to the nearest health facility. Our aim is to have every person who turns up get an opportunity to interface with medical personnel a chance at being checked and a chance at being treated.
2. Rotary Bicycle Ride
Malaria Partners Uganda in Partnership with District Rotarians have organized a bicycle ride as part of the commemoration activities.
The ride whose main objective is to raise awareness about malaria related anemia and death among children and pregnant mothers in the district shall be under the slogan “Zero Malaria Starts with me “. The ride will involve area Members of the Parliament, Other political actors, development partners, district departments, Private sector actors, civil Society Organizations, CSOs, Schools and Universities, Media and general public to demonstrate commitment towards elimination of malaria in Uganda.
3. Cleaning of the city/town before the commemoration day
District Rotarians with support from Tororo District Local government shall participate in a number of activities aimed at sensitizing the community on Malaria environment management measures. This will involve draining of water-logged places that harbor mosquitoes, clearing on nearby bushes, planting of mosquito repellent flower/trees among others. This shall supplement the recently concluded IRS campaign.
The event will heavily be publicized by the media in order to increase visibility of Malaria Partners Uganda.
4. Sport events (football match between District medical team and local people)
Over the years, there has been ambiguity in defining the actual Behavior Change Communication innervations and how they can impact the community in terms of reach. The effectiveness of advocacy interventions is highly dependent on implementation reach and intensity.
In a bid to bridge the gap between the local masses and the District Health team, the day shall have entertainment in form of a football match.
Both teams shall have focus on having equitable understanding of their roles in regards to health promotion which we believe can help change attitude and practices in regards to Patient-Health service provider services.
5. Civil Society Organization (CSOs) Malaria accountability Baraza
This engagement shall explore from the perspective of community members and their understanding of malaria and the terminologies used to describe malaria.
Emphasis shall dwell on what they perceive to be the causes and symptoms of malaria and how they prevent and treat malaria, sources of information among others.
This approach is meant to give voice to the perspectives of those who experience malaria in the community and create a linkage between the masses and their leaders and how they can have them accountable.
It’s also meant to contextualize malaria in people’s daily lives as one of the many challenges that they experience to Generate data that could be used in a bottom-up approach feeding into the subsequent activities.
We are familiar with the biomedical understanding of malaria, this gave us an opportunity to understand the lay understanding of malaria by the masses.
6. Mass media activities
The Uganda Malaria Strategic plan highlights that by 2025, there should be a reduction in malaria infection and morbidity by 50% and malaria related mortality by 75% of 2019 levels.
Furthermore, strategic objective O3 states that by 2025, at least 90% of the population sustains the acquired knowledge, utilizes and practices correct malaria management, preventive and curative services,transmission has become unstable with increased occurrence of malaria outbreaks and epidemics in most parts of the country. These outbreaks and epidemics not only require conventional weapons to halt them but also thinking outside the box through scientific means to nip the malady in the bud
In 2021 MPU together with UPFM identified key advocacy stakeholders as champions to provide prominence of the malaria elimination efforts by increased visibility on the need to prioritise the Malaria struggle.
On this basis, Malaria Partners Uganda and the Uganda Parliamentary Forum on Malaria to undertake Advocacy at the National level through the Mass action against Malaria approach, as every leader has to embrace a malaria free Uganda as their responsibility.
Malaria Partners Uganda therefore intends to undertake a documentary to interview Members of parliament and other key stakeholders so as to document their views and experiences in the fight against malaria in the current Epidemic context.
As malaria advocates, whose purpose is to leverage collective action and resources toward a malaria free Uganda for sustainable livelihood and development, the documentary is intended to highlight a life experience and make a case for the involvement of legislators and key country representatives to lead efforts and strengthen political and commit action towards Malaria elimination in Uganda by 2030.
This documentary will be used to drive advocacy for resource mobilisation, community awareness for action and accountability.
This shall be launched prior to the commemoration day a day that shall be communicated by the Deputy speaker of parliament
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