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UK Government strengthens Uganda’s response to fight malaria

Kampala: The UK Government is supporting the Government of Uganda’s response to fight malaria among the most vulnerable, particularly women and children. In Uganda, malaria, a preventable and treatable disease, kills 14 children under five years every day.

The five-year support worth two hundred and six billion shillings that started in 2018 and will end in 2022, is channeled through the United Nations Children’s Fund-UNICEF and USAID. The funding is supporting the reduction in malaria in 26 high burden districts and building national capacity to respond to the burden of malaria.

Sumaya Awuma a member of village health team (VHT) in Town Ward village, Atura township, Aber sub county in Oyam disrict lectures to 21 year old Cecilia Atim who is 8 months pregnant during a home visit in her area on 21st March 2019 . “ I check her book to see if she has gone for antenatal visit, I also talk to her about sanitation, balanced died feediing and danger signs during pregnancy” sais Sumaya VHTs have been trained to test and treat malaria in children under 5 years living within their villege. Oyam district is one of the selected ones in Lango sub region to impliment SURMA programme that is funded by UKaid funded programme. VHTs and health workers are trained in handling malaria under the programme, With funding from UKaid, UNICEF through implementing partner, Malaria Consortium and district local governments is carrying out trainings and various interventions in malaria control. The Strengthening Uganda Response to Malaria (SURMA) programme prioritized 23 districts in mid-north and Karamoja sub regions of Uganda. Photo by Jimmy Adriko

Today at the launch of the Target Malaria Insectary at the Uganda Virus Research Institute, the British High Commissioner Peter West stated that “Investing in strategies to prevent and control malaria will save thousands of children from dying. Many families will be spared the unspeakable grief of losing a child.  And those children will be able to contribute to building Uganda’s future. That in itself is a reason to support the fight against malaria, and the UK is proud to do so”.

Uganda is among the 10 high burden countries for malaria and accounts for an estimated 4 per cent and 3 per cent of the global number of cases and deaths respectively, despite positive trends realized over the past decade. Malaria continues to kill and prevent people especially children, from reaching their full health potential, thereby calling for more strengthened and concerted efforts and interventions to curb the disease.

The main priorities of the UKaid funding include – strengthening district health systems, including malaria epidemiological and entomological surveillance; strengthening capacity of districts in management of malaria interventions; improving access and uptake of malaria prevention interventions like increase in intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy and increase in access and use of insecticide treated mosquito nets and improving diagnosis and treatment of malaria in the public and private sectors and community level.

At the national level, the UKaid funding is geared towards strengthening of capacity of the National Malaria Control Programme and improvement of the quality and use of data.

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