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Where There’s A Political Will, There’s A Way

By Cynthia E. Pacutho, Program Coordinator Malaria Partners Uganda 

The African Union Malaria Progress Report 2021 sights the total commitment of Governments and all players in the Health System, as well as sustained funding over the long term, as key requirements in tackling Malaria. In 2021, President Yoweri Museveni launched a new war on the killer disease, admitting that the focus has been lopsided on the curative compared to prevention and elimination. He pledged the prioritization of Political Will, Community mobilization, and strengthening Research Capacity in this war.

The Ministry of Health’s National Malaria Control Division has in recent years prioritized efforts towards developing an integrated approach to Malaria control, with emphasis on multi-sectoral engagement. This strategic focus recognizes the importance of Environmental, Social-Cultural, Economic, and Climate factors as significant contributors to Uganda’s Malaria burden, but cannot be fully addressed by the Health Sector alone. This multi-sectoral team provided an avenue for collaboration for a nascent Malaria Partners Uganda (MPU) with other Malaria Actors in the country, including Uganda Parliamentary Forum on Malaria (UPFM).

In tandem with our Advocacy plan to rally relevant stakeholders for engagements around Malaria Advocacy issues, MPU’s partnership with UPFM is strategic for convening stakeholders towards the establishment of a Coalition of Actors for the enactment of the Malaria Control and Elimination Bill. UPFM hosted the first of such convening online with Malaria stakeholders on Tuesday 1st February in a bid to facilitate networking between Malaria Development Partners and Parliamentarians, as well as establish a forum for discussion and recommendations on the enactment of the Bill. Attendees were familiarized with the aims and objectives of UPFM and the draft Malaria Control and Elimination Bill. This comes ahead of a retreat of MPs and stakeholders to review the Bill with the First Parliamentary Council from the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.

UPFM is a platform of Members of Parliament from different political shades who collectively generate visibility on and provide leadership towards the control and eventual elimination of Malaria. During the launch of UPFM and the Mass Action Against Malaria initiative in 2019, the President pledged a Malaria Trust Fund among other campaigns. In a quest to operationalize this pledge, a policy/legal framework by Act of Parliament was urgently required and thus the draft Bill on Malaria Control and Elimination.

2022 will see MPU effectively rally varied Malaria Actors – with Rotarians at the forefront – for engagement around Malaria Advocacy; influencing legislation, policy, and practice around elimination, and triggering mindset-change among Ugandans on prevention and control.

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