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MALARIA A MAJOR CAUSE OF DEATH AND POVERTY IN UGANDA
Malaria is a major public health challenge in sub-Saharan Africa. In Uganda, malaria is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality especially among children under five years of age.
Every year it kills 3 million people and is estimated to cost the African economy $30 billion per year. Professor Jeffrey Sachs author of ”End of Poverty” says ending malaria is the most important priority in lifting Africa out of poverty.
Every year malaria, a parasitic disease spread by the bite of a mosquito, results in 300 million to 500 million clinical cases and causes more than 1 million deaths. Mostly it is young children under the age of five in sub- Saharan Africa who are affected, dying at the rate of nearly 3,000 every day (approx.. 20% of child deaths).
Those children who escape death are not untouched by the disease. Malaria also hinders the development of those who survive. In sub-Saharan Africa, the disease is responsible for 30 per cent to 50 per cent of all outpatient visits to clinics and up to 50 per cent of hospital admissions. (UNICEF)
The indirect costs of malaria include lost productivity or income associated with illness or death. This might be expressed as the cost of lost workdays or absenteeism from formal employment and the value of unpaid work done in the home by both men and women. In the case of death, the indirect cost includes the discounted future lifetime earnings of those who die.
Public expenditures include spending by government on maintaining health facilities and health care infrastructure, publicly managed vector control, education and research. In some countries with a heavy malaria burden, the disease may account for as much as 40% of public health expenditure, 30-50% of inpatient admissions, and up to 50% of outpatient visits.
FREDAfrica has focused mainly on prevention of malaria at household level using an integrated approach which involves advocating and implementing several strategies in a holistic manner geared towards reduction in the occurrence of malaria.
The specific strategies involved are classified as:
1. Personal protection — use of insecticide-treated bed nets and insecticide sprays;
2. Reducing mosquito breeding sites — draining pools of water, the use of larvicides and clearing unnecessary vegetation around homes.
3. Reducing entry of mosquitoes into houses — installing mosquito proofing in windows, ventilators and open eaves, and closing windows and doors early in the evenings.
FREDAfrica has carried out a baseline survey on malaria prevention; train community health workers and increase awareness among the community on the integrated approach to malaria prevention; and, establish demonstration sites using the integrated approach.
A baseline survey among 627 households was conducted which generated information on the knowledge, attitudes and practices of the community in relation to malaria prevention.
The project trained 30 community health workers and over 250 community members were sensitized on the integrated approach to malaria prevention. In addition, 70 demonstration households using the integrated approach were established.
The use of multiple methods in the prevention of malaria was appreciated by the community particularly the demonstration households using the integrated approach.
Initial project evaluation showed that the community had become more knowledgeable about the various malaria prevention methods that were advocated in the integrated approach.
In addition, some of the methods that were not being used before project implementation, such as early closing of windows, had been adopted. The presence of mosquitoes in the demonstration households had also reduced.
FREDAfrica is intending to extend these approaches to other communities in order to reduce malaria and the death rates especially among the infants.
Make a donation today to help raise funds for FREDAfrica to continue with the same program in other villages. Your donation can also help provide a mosquito net to people in need.
You can also get involved by organizing a malaria fundraising party at school, churches or even at home to help raise funds to fight Malaria in Uganda. 20% of the funds raised will help to cover the costs incurred during the party or any event.
**All those fundraised will be a warded FREDAfrica certificate.