Museveni: Ministry’s laziness to blame for malaria spread

President Yoweri Museveni has used an event to launch the Parliamentary forum on malaria to criticize the Ministry of Health for laziness in eradicating mosquitoes that transmit malaria.

Museveni said the only way to bring an end to malaria is through mass spray against mosquitoes and use of treated nets, interventions he said the Ministry is handling with laziness.

I think the problem is really laziness especially by the Ministry of Health; there is laziness there, which must go, said Museveni.

In his speech, the President continually tasked Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng to explain the Ministry's efforts against malaria.

The Parliamentary Forum on Malaria brings together legislators across the political divide, with MP Moses Balyeku (NRM, Jinja Municipality West) as the Chairperson.

Museveni said the forum should focus on the debate on the methods of eliminating these mosquitoes.

Museveni recounted his own struggle with malaria, saying Ugandans should test themselves so that they cannot carry the protozoa, the organism that causes malaria.

When we talk about malaria, we are talking about two living organisms; one is an insect and the other is a protozoa, he said.

Routine testing to rid people's blood of the protozoa, said Museveni, will ensure that malaria is not transmitted despite of mosquito bites.

Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah said the forum is an informal arrangement bringing together like minded MPs, but can use Committees to amplify their advocacy.

They [forum] have no direct access to Parliament, but they can access Parliament through the Committees since they don't have the sometimes unnecessary bureaucracy that Committees have, said Oulanyah.

Oulanyah criticized groups he said have been ardent in brewing controversy out of efforts to permanently destroy mosquitoes.

In Uganda, each time we want to spray the mosquitoes, people complain. This business of worshipping the mosquitoes is killing us, said Oulanyah.

Minister Aceng said malaria related deaths have decreased by 60 per cent between 2012 and 2017.

Balyeku said the decision to form the forum follows statistics that suggest an upward spiral of malaria related deaths.

He proposed the formation of a fund to facilitate MPs' constituency efforts against malaria.

Museveni welcomed the idea of establishing the fund, but said it should be restricted to aiding research on malaria as opposed to seminars, workshops and conferences.

The Fund would be similar to the HIV and AIDS Trust Fund, established under the HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Act, 2014 to secure a predictable and sustainable means of procuring goods and services for counseling, testing and treatment of the scourge.

Also present at the event was 1st Deputy Prime Minister Gen Moses Ali, Government Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa Ssentamu, several ministers, MPs and Local Council leaders.

Source: Parliament of Uganda

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