Hang up, Keep Up Malaria campaign saving lives in Northern Uganda

Hang up, Keep Up Malaria campaign saving lives in Northern Uganda

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Uganda Red Cross Society in partnership with UNICEF Uganda  have embarked on a vigorous campaign to fight malaria in Northern Uganda. This followed rampant deaths in the 11 target communities of Amuru, Nwoya, Kitgum, Lamwo, Pader, Agago, Oyam, Apac,Gulu, Kole and Arua. The ministry of Health together with development partners like URCS and UNICEF could not sit back while people continued dying. 

Today, the Uganda Malaria Reduction Strategic Plan 2014–2020 (UMRSP) supports universal access to Insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) through mass campaigns and routine distribution channels, including antenatal care (ANC) clinics, Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) visits, outreach distribution points, private providers, and commercial outlets all targeting vulnerable populations and ensuring that malaria is eradicated.

Despite those efforts, Uganda continued to lose many children below age 5 and pregnant mothers due to malaria. This compelled development partners (URCS in partnership with UNICEF) to enforce a malaria campaign targeting the vulnerable communities through social mobilisation. With a large network of volunteers spread all over the country, URCS deployed volunteers among whom are Village health team members who spear headed the campaign. With support from UNICEF, the malaria “hang up and keep up campaign” was launched between August to September 2016. This emphasized the hanging up of treated mosquito nets in all families to ensure no one gets malaria or dies to it.

The campaign supported local communities in understanding malaria prevention through hanging and keeping up of the long lasting insecticide Treated nets and this definitely targeted all households in the eleven affected districts in Northern Uganda with special emphasis on children less than 5 years and pregnant mothers.

“We did the malaria hand up – keep up campaign” and we found out that many people in the eleven target districts have barriers of using the Insecticide Treated Nets. Thy have fears like fire out outbreak because of lighting used (Tadoba), laziness, drunkenness, misuse of nets,  ignorance, poor housing, smell of the Insecticide Treated Nets etc. all these are some of the excuses expressed by people for not using nets and hence explain partly why people die to malaria in Northern Uganda.” Says Mr. Alex Onzima, the URCS coordinator for the malaria hand up keep up campaign.

About 537 volunteers were trained and empowered with skills to continue teaching people about malaria, the dangers and how they can prevent it in the eleven target districts. Emphasis was around the causes, modes of transmission, prevention and control methods, signs and symptoms of both uncomplicated and complicated malaria. They also demonstrated to the local participants the use of mosquito nets in a home.

At the end of the training, sample visits were made by the URCS trained village health teams to sample communities where mothers were reached with malaria related literature and found them responding positively.Apparently, less malaria cases are registered in rural homes compared to previous cases.

According to Ministry of Health, malaria in Uganda is the leading cause of death and accounts for 27% of deaths in pregnant mothers and children below 5. Such efforts by URCS, UNICEF and ministry of health are aimed at reducing these statics drastically as well as increasing knowledge on malaria prevention techniques at house hold level.

URCS Contacts

Plot 551/555 Rubaga Road.
P.O. Box 494, Kampala Uganda.
Tel:     (256) 414 258701
Tel:     (256) 414 258702
Email: sgurcs@redcrossug.org
Facebook: Uganda Red Cross Society
Twitter: @ugandaredcross

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