The United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) has today marked the launch of a new programme to tackle malaria in Uganda. Over the next five years, the UK government will invest up to sh215 billion ($59m) to tackle malaria in the country.
A statement from DFID stated that the new programme will avert at least 11,056 deaths of children under-5 and prevent 989,000 malaria cases, contributing to the UK government's priority on tackling preventable maternal and child deaths.
Uganda has the third highest number of annual deaths from malaria in Africa, as well as some of the highest reported malaria transmission rates in the world.
"Malaria has an indirect impact on the economy and development in general, driving high household expenditures on health, causing lost productivity, and slowing down economic growth. Investing to save lives from malaria is a priority for the UK government as failure to tackle malaria could undermine the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals," the DFID statement said.
Treating malaria costs a family on average Sh 25,000 per episode - adding up to a significant proportion of annual income for many households.
Indoor Residual Spraying
Over the past four years, the UK government invested $61m to support the response to malaria. This included support to the Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) programme jointly implemented with the US government, which provided effective protection for approximately 1,000,000 people in five high burden districts of Alebtong, Amolatar, Dokolo, Kaberamaido and Otuke.
Speaking at the close out event for the IRS programme, the DFID Head of Office, Jennie Barugh said, "We know that proven interventions such as Indoor Residual spraying are helping countries like Uganda to significantly reduce the number of deaths, and cases of malaria more generally. I commend the Ministry of Health for its leadership in the fight against malaria. Even as we mark the close out of the IRS programme, we must not forget the challenges that remain in the fight against malaria."
Interventions under the programme will include support to Indoor Residual Spraying and Integrated Community Case Management of malaria, diarrhoea and pneumonia. It will also strengthen district capacity to prevent and control malaria in 23 high burden districts.
National malaria control
The programme will support the National Malaria Control Programme to manage the response to malaria including the use of data for decision making.
This funding will complement the UK's continued support through the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) to help Uganda take forward critical actions in the fight against malaria.
Since its inception in 2002, the GFATM had disbursed up to $623 million to Uganda to fight HIV, TB and malaria. In 2016, the UK announced a £1.1billion pledge to the GFATM making it one of the third largest donors to the Fund.
The Department for International Development (DFID) leads the UK's work to end extreme poverty. We're ending the need for aid by creating jobs, unlocking the potential of girls and women and helping to save lives when humanitarian emergencies hit.
The UK spends approximately $124.88m per year through its bilateral programme in Uganda with a focus on: the provision of humanitarian assistance; improving the quality of essential services and protecting the most vulnerable; increasing growth through investment in infrastructure, financial services, business development and trade; supporting recovery in the North and improving maternal health and government accountability.