Uganda: Residents Reject Indoor Spraying Programme, Fear Being Impotent

Many residents of Lira and Alebtong districts have rejected government's national Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) programme meant for malaria control, claiming it makes men impotent.

IRS is the application of insecticide to the inside of dwellings, on walls and other surfaces that serve as a hiding place for mosquitoes.

IRS kills mosquitoes when they come in contact with treated surfaces.

However, residents of Lira, claim the programme has been introduced in bad faith. They further claim it is ineffective.

"In the last concluded IRS programme, my neighbours and I experienced increasing number of mosquitoes in our houses," Mr Samuel Okello, a resident of Olil Village, Awiodyek Parish in Amach Sub-county, said.

In Akura Sub-county, Alebtong District, residents claimed IRS is contributing to the multiplication of bedbugs.

Authorities

Mr Rashid Etwop, the Lira District malaria focal point person, however, dismissed the claims as baseless.

He said the insecticides being used in the fight against mosquitoes that transmit malaria have no side-effects if applied correctly.

Mr Etwop said the insecticides have been approved by World Health Organisation, and the Ministry of Health for public health use.

Ms Anna Apili, an Akura Sub-county health assistant, who is supervising the exercise, said they started facing some resistance from the communities just a day after the implementation of IRS programme started last week.

"There are some residents who do not lock their houses then they go to the gardens but we have been educating them on the health benefit of the programme. But after sweet-talking them they only allow huts where their children sleep to be sprayed," she said.

Ms Apili also said most of the residents of Arwot-Okwero Village in Akura Sub-county insisted that their houses should not be sprayed because their colleagues had advised them not to.

She advised residents not to listen to misleading information.

The Akura Sub-county councillor, Mr James Abwang, said after the intervention of the local leaders, some residents were willing to embrace the malaria control programme.

Reduced malaria incidence

Leaders in the neighbouring district of Dokolo said they have been able to reduce malaria spread by more than 91 per cent since they started implementing IRS programme in 2014.

In 2012, malaria contributed to 53 per cent of all the cases received at the OutPatient Departments, with children being the most affected in Dokolo, according to Mr Samuel Ojok, the District Health Officer.

Dr Ojok said before the IRS intervention, malaria contributed to the high mortality and morbidity in children who are less than five years and pregnant mothers.

It also contributed to big number of OPD attendance, admissions, blood transfusions and abortions in Dokolo.

However, after delivery of IRS to Dokolo in 2014, considerable progress has been made in reducing malaria cases.

Malaria weekly reported cases in Dokolo reduced from an average of 3,500 cases per week in 2014 to less than 300 cases per week at the end of year 2017, according to 2017 Health Monitoring Information System (HMIS) report.

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