Up to one million children in some of Uganda’s most remote regions could be left without malaria services due to funding cuts triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Not everyone is eligible for seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC), a highly effective and relatively new intervention to prevent malaria in the most vulnerable communities. And where it isn’t a feasible intervention, we still need to beat malaria and still need investment in interventions that help build resilient health systems to manage and respond to disease outbreaks, no matter how devastating.
One example of this is a project that is currently helping to save thousands of lives in Uganda. Since 2017, we have been supporting the Ugandan Ministry of Health through the Strengthening Uganda’s Response to Malaria (SURMa) project. To date, the project has reduced deaths from malaria in the general population by 11 percent across 27 districts – districts with some of the worst malaria rates in the country.
SURMa’s work is vital, its goal simple - to establish sustainable, community-level malaria services and save lives. The capacity of Uganda’s district health teams is still being built and ending this intervention prematurely will likely mean that the progress made so far will be lost.
Without investment to complete the project, over five million people will lack basic malaria services and this will inevitably lead to an increase in deaths in the region, especially among children under five years and pregnant women.
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