Uganda must raise the level of public awareness about malaria as a preventive measure aimed at combating the deadly disease, the state minister Information Communication Technology Nyombi Thembo has advised.
He argued that a well-streamlined nationwide sensitisation campaign on how to avoid mosquitoes is one of the most effective and cheap interventions that can save lives and money that would be spent to treat the ailment.
Malaria is a life-threatening parasitic disease transmitted by mosquitoes. It is a preventable upon increased awareness as well as treatable especially with an early medical intervention.
Minister Nyombi hands over items to the elder as StarTimes CEO Kevin Chen and Spokesperson Christine Nagujja look on
"It's an incontestable fact that malaria kills more people than any other diseases, yet spreading broad knowledge of the avenues through which it catches is the cheapest to the country and cushions people against the disease," he noted.
Nyombi was last week addressing residents of Kassanda-Mityana at a function during which he distributed healthcare items including mosquito nets, detergents, clothes as well as TV decoders to the elderly people courtesy of StarTimes, an international digital pay television service provider.
He advised private and public health providers at district levels to encourage people to clear bushed around their homes, drain stagnant water that serves as breeding areas for mosquitos, sleep in mosquito nets and seek early medical intervention in case of infections.
StarTimes country chief executive officer Kevin Chen also emphasised that combating malaria needs regularly awareness on how to use the medicine and the mosquito nets because part of the population uses them for other purposes than sleeping in them, which allows the disease to escalate.
Malaria is Africa's leading cause of death for children under five years old. The disease is endemic in 95% of Ugandans with nearly half of hospital in-patient deaths among children under five years are attributed to clinical malaria.
Malaria accounts for 70,000-110,000 child deaths annually in Uganda, accounting for 40% of Ugandan public health expenditure, 30-50% of inpatient admissions, and up to 50% of outpatient visits in areas with high malaria transmission.