Uganda launches the second campaign for universal coverage of long lasting insecticidal nets

The Right Honourable Dr Ruhakana Rugunda flagging off the LLINs campaign. The Right Honourable Dr Ruhakana Rugunda flagging off the LLINs campaign.

Uganda launched the second universal coverage campaign for Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs) with the aim of reducing the overall malaria parasite prevalence to below 7% nationally.

The campaign estimated to cost USD 120m, including procurement of LLINs and distribution costs, was launched by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Uganda The Right Honourable Dr Ruhakana Rugunda who represented President Yoweri Museveni at a colourful ceremony held in Apac district, northern Uganda under the theme “Consistent use of LLINs”.

In the campaign, 24 million free LLINs will be distributed across the country targeting over 40 million people. The six months campaign will enable government to provide one net for every two registered people in each household as well as educate communities on their consistent and effective use.  

The campaign follows a successful universal coverage campaign in 2013 and 2014 which saw 22 million nets distributed across the country contributing to a reduction in malaria parasite prevalence in Uganda from 42 to 19 percent. That reduction demonstrated the high effectiveness of LLINs alongside other recommended WHO malaria control interventions, in protecting communities from malaria.

“The launch of the second Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs) Universal Coverage Campaign today, marks yet another step on the journey to the goal of malaria elimination” said President Museveni in a speech read by the Prime Minister.  “I wish to express my gratitude to the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM), Against Malaria Foundation of the UK, President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) of the United States, DFID and all partners that contributed to the 24 million mosquito nets whose distribution is starting today in Apac, and will scale up to the whole country in the next 5-6 months” he added.

The President urged Ugandans to use the nets properly and not “for catching fish, harvesting Nswa (blind ants), tethering goats or sieving Malwa as has been the case in some communities”. He thus implored all local leaders to monitor and ensure that the nets are put to the correct use and used consistently.

Universal coverage with LLINs is key pillar of Uganda’s Uganda Malaria Reduction Strategic Plan (UMRSP).  In this plan, the country commits to reducing annual malaria deaths from the 2013 levels to near zero; malaria morbidity to 30 cases per 1000 population; and  malaria parasite prevalence to less than 7% by 2020.

According the Minister of Health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, this national LLIN distribution campaign “directly responds to the UMRSP strategic objective of achieving and sustaining protection of at least 85% of the population at risk through recommended malaria prevention measures”.  Dr Aceng therefore called upon all Ugandans to ensure that all households are registered to receive LLINs and to turn up to collect the LLINs on the distribution days.

Speaking on behalf of the different stakeholders supporting the Ministry of Health in the LLIN mass distribution campaign, the Acting WHO Country Representative Dr Tarande Manzila called for increased domestic financial resources to sustain the gains being made and continuously make further progress towards malaria elimination. He pledged the continued support of the United Nations System in Uganda to “always stand by Uganda in its efforts to attain a malaria free Uganda by 2030”. Dr Manzila used the opportunity to congratulate the Government of Uganda upon being recognised for the steady progress so far made towards reducing the burden of malaria in the country at the recently concluded 28th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa Ethiopia. However, he highlighted the need for the country to do more to further reduce malaria as Uganda is still one of the high burden countries in Africa.

Funding for the campaign has been mobilised by the Government of Uganda, the Global Fund to Fight Malaria, TB and HIV, Against Malaria Foundation, Department for International Development (DFID) and the USAID/President’s Malaria Initiative. The lead implementing partner is Malaria Consortium. Other are UNICEF, PACE, Communication for Health Communities, UNBS, NDA and the Church of Uganda, with technical guidance from World Health Organization.

The launch was also attended by the British High Commissioner, a representative of the American Ambassador to Uganda, the Chief of Staff of GFATM, the team leader of PMI/Washington, members of parliaments, district leaders and community members.


Below:

1. The Right Honourable Dr Ruhakana Rugunda flagging off the LLINs campaign.

2. Dr Ruhakana Rugunda handing over a net to child at the launch. Others are Minister of Health, the Acting WHO Representative, the Acting Director General of Health and Malaria control Manager.

Uganda