Malaria Consortium’s integrated malaria control project in Busiro North, Wakiso district, Uganda, implemented with the Ugandan Ministry of Health, WHO, and other Roll Back Malaria partners was recently visited on the 23rd August by the WHO Director General, Dr Margaret Chan, the UN Special Envoy on malaria, Ray Chambers and the President of the Global Health Programme at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr Tadaka Yamada.
The visit came as part of their three day trip to Uganda to observe the country’s progress on malaria prevention, control and treatment efforts and scale up of universal coverage of preventative measures for the control of malaria.
The delegation visited Kakiri Health Centre III, a licensed drugstore and met with Community-based Medicine Distributors (CMDs) in Bulima village to learn more about their work. They also visited two homes of mothers with young children who previously benefitted from a mass net distribution campaign undertaken by Malaria Consortium with support from the MTN Foundation. The visit was concluded with a community gathering led by the Ugandan Vice President, Prof. Gilbert Bukenya, at Balibaseka Secondary School.
During this event the CMDs presented a report to the WHO which included their achievements as well as problems they are faced with, such as lack of anti malaria drugs for the communities.
The Vice President also took the opportunity to thank Malaria Consortium Uganda Country Director Dr Godfrey Magumba and his team and the WHO for their support to Wakiso district in the fight against malaria.
Dr Chan said the visit had given her first-hand experience of the challenges and the success stories of malaria control in Uganda. She said she was both touched to the heart and impressed with the Community Medicine Distributors and thanked and commended them for their work and their spirit to serve. On behalf of the delegates she pledged to support such initiatives.
During their visit to Uganda, Mr Chambers announced the distribution of 17 million insecticide treated mosquito nets in the next 15 months in Uganda, funded by the Global Fund.
Malaria is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Uganda. Over 100,000 children in Uganda die from malaria each year, three times more than those dying of HIV/AIDS. There were an estimated 10.6 million cases of malaria in Uganda in 2006 with around 43,000 deaths, although some estimates place the figure as high as 72,000.
Malaria Consortium began working in Uganda in 2003 and now has five regional and one main office. Since its inception, Malaria Consortium Uganda has worked in every project district in Uganda opening three field offices in the last year – in West Nile, Wakiso and Karamoja. This year, three new field offices will be opening in Hoima, Jinja and Soroti.