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By Ariel Delaney, Deputy Director, Malaria Partners International

In late November 2020, Malaria Partners Uganda began implementation of a $10,000 small grant for malaria control. Over 90 peer educators, mostly women, were trained as part of the Mbale Market Vendors Malaria Project. PAG Bernard Osenda, Malaria Partners Uganda Board Member launched the training alongside Opportunity President Peter Aguma of the Mbale Metropolitan Rotary Club. The event was held during a time of great tension in Uganda, ahead of the January 14th, 2021 general election.

Outside of the training venue in Mbale City, protestors were dispersed with tear gas.   Following the training, the peer educators were awarded certificates of completion, branded aprons, books and pens to be used during the market sensitization. Activities will specifically target over 3100 market vendors, mostly women and mothers who account for 70 percent of the vendors working in the three markets in Mbale Municipality.  Peer educators began a 6-month long campaign in the market the following weekend, leading training sessions for market vendors.

The primary objectives for this grant are:

  1. Conduct malaria awareness trainings and educate market vendors on preventative measures.
  2. Strength communication and collaboration mechanisms with Municipal/District health facilities.
  3. Provide early rapid diagnosis and refer for malaria treatment for market vendors and their families.
  4. Prevent new malaria infections among market vendors and their families, especially pregnant mothers and children under 5.

Targeting of market vendors is crucial as past prevention projects noted the malaria risks they face. This is in part due to the long hours, up to 15 each day, at their stalls to ensure they are present for potential clients. Many vendors are unable to take time off for health care visits, to prevent loss of income. This project brings trained educators to the vendors directly to sensitize them on prevention measures, and conduct early rapid diagnosis tests. Referrals are provided in concurrence with the local Municipal/District health facilities.