Malaria affects more people in Tororo than in any other Ugandan district, a new report says.
The report, by the international organization Malaria Consortium (MC), shows that on average, people in Tororo are exposed to an average of 1.5 infectious mosquito bites per night. The high infection rate is blamed on ignorance and negligence by parents and guardians who fail to enforce the proper use of mosquito nets.
Hence MC recently launched the Malaria Control Culture project, piloted in Tororo district. It aims to change people’s attitudes towards malaria prevention and treatment in rural areas. To ensure universal coverage of long-lasting insecticide-treated nets (LLINs), MC has developed a two-pronged distribution strategy with health facilities and primary schools as major targets.
In health facilities, the distribution concentrates on antenatal care units, while in primary schools the target is pupils in primary one and four. In schools in Tororo, malaria has been cited as a major cause of absenteeism. Nine-year-old Rose Nyaketcho, a P4 pupil at Elgon view PS, was lucky to recover from a two-day bout of malaria last year. But a friend of hers failed to write exams for promotion to primary four.
David Oketch, 6, (P1) says his mother declined to buy a mosquito net, saying she would buy medicine for him if he fell sick. Oketch reveals that many of his schoolmates are reluctant to report sickness for fear they could be branded liars and punished by teachers.
“Some of my friends start vomiting and because they fear teachers, they escape from school,” he said.
Oketch also said his mother was using some of the nets “to tie our three cows and turkeys”.
District Health Officer David Okumu said pregnant mothers and children below the age of nine were the most vulnerable to malaria and needed special attention.
Source : The Observer