African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) has recognized Uganda for its commitment to fighting Malaria at the ongoing 28th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
According to a press statement released yesterday, the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) award for Excellence recognizes Uganda alongside Botswana, Cabo Verde, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Swaziland for their impact on malaria incidence and mortality.
The recognized countries are said to have all achieved a reduction in malaria incidence of 40% or more from 2010-2015.
“The significant reduction in malaria in the three high-burden countries (DRC, Ethiopia and Uganda) demonstrates what can be achieved with political commitment, adequate financing and implementation of technically sound and evidence-based vector control and case management interventions, even where malaria transmission is high,” reads the statement.
Uganda according to Dr Jimmy Opigo, the program manager of the National Malaria Control Programme, despite the occasional outbreaks has registered significant progress in the fight against malaria.
The positive trend is according to Opigo due to the country’s switch to more effective treatment with artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) and consistent campaign and distribution of insecticide treated mosquito nets. Uganda has for the past three years distributed over 21 million mosquito nets.
The President is expected to launch a new distribution campaign on the 18thof February in Apac district. A total of 24 million nets are expected to be given out in a period of six months.
“The lifespan of mosquito nets is three years. So we need to redistribute to be able to sustain the gains achieved so far,” he said.
The President according to Opigo has consistently spearheaded efforts towards elimination of malaria and most recently he commissioned a research on larviciding (spraying that targets mosquitoes at the larva stage).
Uganda is currently at the control stage of malaria with a target for pre-elimination by 2020 and elimination by 2030(as per Sustainable Development Goals target).
“We are turning the tide on malaria in Africa .The success is reflected in the countries ALMA honoured today. Our work is not done. We must remain focused to achieve our goal of a malaria-free Africa.” said Joy Phumaphi, the Executive Secretary of ALMA.
Since 2000 according to the statement, malaria mortality rates across the continent have fallen by 62% in all age groups and by 69% among children under five. The increase in those sleeping under long-lasting insecticidal nets, or protected by indoor residual spraying, as well as diagnostic testing of children and treatment of pregnant women has contributed to significantly lowering incidence and mortality in Africa.
“These achievements come at a time when African countries are providing more domestic funding to fight malaria.” reads the statement.
The ALMA Awards for Excellence celebrate exemplary leadership in malaria control and elimination efforts. The awards are chosen by an independent selection committee comprised of leaders and experts in the areas of health, academia and the private sector.