This month marked the completion of the Stop Malaria Project, which had been running across Uganda for six years.
Funded by USAID/President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) and led by Johns Hopkins University Center for Communication Programs (JHU), the project’s aim was to support the Ugandan Government to contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and achieve the Roll Back Malaria goals of reducing malaria-related morbidity and mortality by 70 percent by 2015.
JHU and Malaria Consortium, along with other partners involved in the project, adopted a multi-pronged approach focused on refining and implementing malaria prevention programmes (for example through the delivery of intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy and the distribution of long lasting insecticidal nets), improving malaria diagnosis and treatment in a variety of settings, and strengthening the capacity of the government to monitor and evaluate interventions.
Chief of Party of the Stop Malaria Project, Catherine Chime Mukwakwa, said that the project had about 90 percent success in reaching its targets: over 22 million nets were distributed (both universally and through targeted distributions for pregnant women), treatment for pregnant women increased from 39 to 60 percent, malaria testing went from 44 to 81 percent, and improvement in data reporting from the district to national level increased from 45 to 92 percent. The “Stop Malaria” communication campaign also had a significant impact, with respondents being 91 percent more likely to seek treatment for malaria than those who were had not been exposed to the campaign. These initiatives were aided by the use of mass media – eight million children were reached with malaria prevention messages and over 32,000 radio spots aired in an effort to improve knowledge and health-seeking behaviours.
There have also been policy implications. As a result of the success of the Stop Malaria Project, the National Malaria Control Programme in Uganda has been able to move malaria higher on the national agenda and is encouraging increased scale-up of malaria control activities.
A closing event held last month was attended by a number of stakeholders, including prominent government and non-government representatives, to track achievements and lessons learnt. At the event, Dr Elioda Tumswegye, State Minister for Health, acknowledged and thanked the Government of Uganda, JHU, Malaria Consortium and other partners for their dedication and hard work that had genuinely resulted in a reduction of malaria in the country.
*Other partners besides Johns Hopkins University, include: Infectious Diseases Institute, Communication for Development Foundation Uganda, and Uganda Health Marketing Group