‘’ Malaria is the leading cause of death in Uganda, it claimed 4000 lives in 2019 and with the movement restrictions due to the pandemic malaria infections were projected to increase by 22%. The vision of WHO and the global malaria community is a world free of malaria. This vision can only be achieved progressively by countries eliminating malaria from their territories and implementing effective measures to prevent re-establishment of transmission.’’ WHO.
Eradicating Malaria is still a key aspect especially during this time where a lot of attention is centered towards curbing the global pandemic. As the world celebrates the achievements of countries that are approaching and achieving malaria elimination for World Malaria Day, Bujagali Energy Limited (BEL) is at the forefront to help Uganda reach the zero malaria target.
It was a new dawn for Bujagali residents after BEL initiated a mosquito net distribution project in February 2021 to help mitigate the malaria menace in the region.
‘’Currently, the community is struggling with a lot of mosquitos, and quite a number of them especially the elderly who are most vulnerable are suffering from Malaria.’’ Says Maasa Yafesi the local council chairman of Bulooba.
With the help of the company’s staff and community members data was collected on elderly persons between the ages of 60- 97 within the project area. The data enabled them to identify 9 villages: Namizzi west, Kyabirwa, Ivunamba, Bujagali, Kikubamutwe, Malindi, Buloba, Naminya Kiira and Naminya Resettlement as the most affected villages by the menace.
During the net distribution event, the company staff in attendance, 9 local councilmen representing the 9 villages and two village health teams were dressed in t-shirts with the message “Zero malaria starts with me and my net”. They educated the members of the community on the benefits of adhering to malaria prevention measures including sleeping under the net. The BEL team ensured that all the concerns regarding mosquito net usage had been addressed and questions answered before handing over the nets.
A total of 326 insecticide-treated bed nets were distributed to various households in the villages. However, a reasonable number of elderly persons could not make it to the distribution points due to immobility factors. The BEL team ensured that their nets were received by the next of kin.
This initiative by BEL is in line with the WHO goal of achieving a world free of Malaria.