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Malaria Partners International’ Board member and Treasurer, Jeff Pritchard, traveled to Uganda December 13th through the 19th as part of an implementation and site visit group to assist and review the launch of the second phase of Katakwi District malaria eradication project. After landing in Entebbe, Pritchard traveled the short distance north to Nakawa on the outskirts of Kampala to meet with Ssebunya Kizza, President of the Nateete/Kampala Rotary Club, who has been mobilizing Ugandan Rotary members in support of malaria elimination projects as well as helping to facilitate registration of Malaria Partners International in Uganda.  Local NGO Pilgrim Africa’s CEO Dorothy Echodu also joined the meeting.  Malaria Partners InternationalU is awaiting formal organizational approval by the Ugandan government. Once approved, Malaria Partners InternationalU will focus on further engaging the 100 Rotary Clubs throughout Uganda to initiate and support locally-based Malaria-related projects, and in so doing, support Malaria Partners International’s goals of cultivating grass roots anti-malaria efforts throughout Rotary’s international footprint.  Topics discussed included organizational structure, assessing manpower needs for Malaria Partners InternationalU and near-term organizational goals and objectives.

A few days later, six hours north of Kampala in Katakwi Town Council District headquarters, Katakwi Phase II project participants gathered to update District Chairman Walter Elakas and local public health officials on the project’s status, timeline for implementation and to introduce the NGO representatives involved in implementation. The group included, Dorothy Echodu, CEO of Pilgrim Africa; three representatives of the Presidents’ Malaria Initiative (PMI) including Dr. Lauren Lewis from the U.S. Center for Disease Control in Atlanta; Soroti Central Rotary members including Dr. Godfrey Egwa ( current Club President); Dr. Joel Okalany, (past President); and Rotarian Susan Kituyi; while Pritchard represented Malaria Partners International.  Several officials from the Katakwi District Health Authority were also in attendance.

The group then visited Pilgrim Africa facilities for a formal presentation of the results and key findings of Katakwi Phase I, and key objectives of the project’s second phase.  Thereafter the group was given a demonstration on Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) procedures as well as a walk-through of the multi-station distribution model used for community-based Malaria Drug Administration (MDA) which is proactive community-wide Malaria treatment and a cornerstone of launching Phase II.  This included numerous safety precautions and alternate treatments for pregnant women and those allergic to the underlying medicine.

 

The following day participating organizations gathered in Mbale, a small town in the southeast corner of Uganda bordering Mt. Elgon, at the offices of US Aid’s RHITSE-E (Regional Health Integration to Enhance Services in Eastern Uganda.)  This 4-hour “all-hands” meeting of all Phase-II participants and funders was to finalize each organization’s respective roles and responsibilities during implementation.  The meeting was hosted by Dr. Caroline Karutu, RHITSE-E Director, and led by Dorothy Echodu of Pilgrim Africa.  Among the 25 participants were Abigail Pratt of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, PMI representatives, local district health officials, Soroti Central Rotary members (Joel, Godfrey and Susan), Malaria Partners International and senior Pilgrim Africa staff.

Some of the implementation issues included:

  • Finalizing malaria and household data aggregation methodologies in conjunction with community health workers using smart phone technology combined with data entry administrative support in local health clinics.
  • Acquisition, distribution and storage of bicycles for community health workers.
  • Cash flow procedures to ensure no implementation interruptions.

With final logistical issues resolved and roles and responsibilities clarified, and the Rotary Foundation’s approval of the project enabling the release of project funds to the Soroti Central Club, Katakwi Phase-II is ready to launch.