Rise in malaria cases blamed on misuse of mosquito nets

A family in Kyatwa Village in Bunyangabu District uses  mosquito nets to shelter their poultry from vultures. Photo | ALEX ASHABA

What you need to know:

  • Some locals are using the insectcide-treated mosquito nets in the construction of poultry structures, while others are using them for making ropes to tether  their animals.

Misuse of government mosquito nets by residents in Bunyangabu has largely contributed to the rise in malaria infections in the district, Daily Monitor has learnt.

Some locals are using the insecticide-treated mosquito nets in the construction of poultry structures, while others are using them for making ropes to tether  their animals.

Ms Anent Asiimwe, one of the residents, says the reason they use mosquito nets in the construction of poultry houses is because they have since become old.

However, some residents say they last received mosquito nets from government in 2017, and that the nets have since become old and can no longer be used to fight malaria.

“The nets we use for construction of poultry houses are old; you cannot sleep under an old mosquito net,” Ms Asiimwe said.

The Bunyangabu District health officer, Dr Richard Obeti, says malaria cases in the district have since last year been on the rise.

For example, he says between April and June 2020, malaria cases in the district rose by 46 per cent up from 30 per cent in 2019.

Dr Obeti says the most affected areas include Rwimi Sub-county, Buhesi and Rwimi town councils.

He also attributed the rising numbers of malaria infections in the district to residents refusing to sleep under insecticide-treated mosquito nets.

He also said some locals neither cover ditches nor slash bushes around their homes, which act as breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

Last year, the district received 3,074 bales of mosquito nets from the Health ministry, which they distributed to the locals in a bid to fight malaria.

Dr Obeti says the 3,074 bales contained a total of 122,960 mosquito nets, which he says were not enough for the entire district.
He, for instance, says Kabonero Sub-county alone received 6,198 mosquito nets for its 4,967 households and an estimated population of 11,086 people.

Dr Obeti says as the district health department, they prioritised giving out mosquito nets to vulnerable groups such as pregnant mothers and children.

Dr Shaban Mugerwa from the Ministry of Health, says the prevalence of malaria countrywide is at 9.1 per cent, with 14 people succumbing to malaria per day.

Dr Mugerwa says out of 10 patients admitted to health facilities, at least four are diagnosed with malaria.

“The number of people dying of malaria per day is still high. We want people to use the mosquito nets effectively by sleeping under them, clear bushes and plant mosquito repellent trees around their homes if we are to reduce malaria cases,” Dr Mugerwa says