By George Mangula
Residents in Mbale and other neighbouring districts must use insect-treated mosquito nets as directed by health officials if they are to stay safe from being bitten by female anopheles mosquitoes that spread the deadly malaria, Mbale Resident District Commissioner, Sulaiman Baraza Ogajo has said.
Mr. Ogajo warned the residents at the start of the distribution of mosquito nets in the Elgon region and some of the neighbouring areas of Teso and Bukedi.
The much-needed mosquitoes are being distributed via government’s countrywide Under the Net Programme which will see part of the eastern region’s households receive mosquitoes in five days, the distribution process having started July 10 and is expected to end on July 15, 2020, although the hard-to-reach areas could receive their nets after the planned dates.
The RDC said the distribution of the nets is part of the government’s role to protect Ugandan citizens from disease. He warned those distributing the mosquito nets to ensure that every household gets the nets, ranging between 2-6 per household, depending on the number of members identified.
He warned that the mosquito nets are not for sale and called upon the people to report anyone selling such nets, stating further that if caught, culprits would face the laws established in Uganda.
The official appreciates local media houses like BCU FM, Opengate Fm and others for their role in sensitising the public on the mosquito distribution exercise.
Mrs. Agness Masagwayi Gimoyi, the health educator, Mbale district, added her voice to the RDC’s, to do away with the myths about using mosquito nets. She said mosquito nets do not cause Asthma and cancer as alleged. Nor, she said, do the pieces weaken or cause loss of sex libido in men as alleged.
The official urged households to hang the nets in cold conditions at least for 24 hours before using them. Ms Masagwayi said urged the residents to ensure nets cover all corners of the bed to prevent entry of the mosquitoes that bite humans for blood, hence transmitting plasmodium parasite that causes malaria in humans.
She urged residents to utilize other malaria prevention methods such as; clearing the bushes and compounds, clearing away stagnant water as well as destroying empty tins.
She urged residents to visit health facilities as fast as possible if they suspect they have malaria. “Rush to the hospital within 24 hours,” she said, adding that pregnant mothers and children under five years are the weakest and therefore must be protected from malaria.
She said loss of appetite, vomiting, premature birth, loss of blood and high temperature are some of the symptoms of malaria in humans.
She urged households to plant Lemon trees and others, saying that they chase away mosquitoes.
However, a follow-up observation in some homes by this reporter found out that many families had not followed the advice, with many saying they had kept the newly acquired nets in their suitcases. “I will use my mosquito net when mosquitoes become many,” said Janet Wasagali when asked whether she intended to use her piece soon.
Official records show Malaria deaths in Uganda reduced from 20 per 100,000 in 2016 to 9.38 per 100,000 in 2017 largely due to distribution of insecticide treated nets to all the families in Uganda