President Museveni has promised that the government will set aside Shs350b to focus on countrywide indoor spraying to kill malaria transmitting mosquitoes as part of efforts to reduce malaria deaths by 2020.
The 2014/15 Malaria Indicator Survey (MIS) indicates that malaria is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Uganda, accounting for 30 to 50 per cent of outpatient visits at heath facilities and up to 20 per cent of all deaths in hospitals.
The survey also indicates that malaria is widespread in approximately 95 per cent of the country, affecting 90 per cent of the population.
Uganda still registers one of the highest number of annual deaths from malaria in Africa, as well as some of the highest reported malaria transmissions in the world.
During the launch of the Uganda Parliamentary Forum on Malaria (UPFM) and Mass Action Against Malaria (MAAM) at Parliament on Thursday, Health Minister Ruth Aceng reported that efforts to carry out countrywide outdoor spraying have been constrained by lack of funds.
“The indoor residual spraying is expensive. It needs two cycles in a year. We calculated the cost of spraying the entire country alone and it was about Shs350b. If we had all this money at once, we would put it in one intervention,” Ms Aceng said.
As a solution, Mr Museveni promised that the money will be made available to tackle the spread of malaria. “Shs350b is not too much money especially if it is not recurrent because if you do it for two or three years, you may rest for some time,” Mr Museveni said. But the President was also critical of the efforts the Health ministry is putting in the fight against malaria, accusing officials of “laziness.”
“I think the problem is the laziness especially by the Ministry of Health which must be cured. We have been able to eliminate the 13[killer diseases] through preventive measures. They just need one effort of vaccination,” Mr Museveni said.
Indoor residual spraying (IRS) is the application of insecticide to the inside of dwellings, on walls and other surfaces that serve as a resting place for malaria-infected mosquitoes.
The IRS kills mosquitoes when they come in contact with treated surfaces, preventing disease transmission.