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Fighting Malaria amidst Covid-19: Under the Net Campaign Awareness Activities

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Malaria remains a global health challenge with approximately 500 million cases and one million deaths each year. It accounts for 30%-50% of outpatient visits and 15%-20% of hospital admissions according to the Uganda Malaria Reduction Strategic Plan (UMRSP) 2014-2020 statistics.

Malaria is caused by plasmodium parasites transmitted to people through bites from an infected female anopheles mosquito. Symptoms and signs of malaria include fever, headache, loss of appetite, joint pains, general body weakness among others.

Currently, over 1000 people, mostly children under the age of five die from malaria. The malaria parasite prevalence levels in children under 5 ranges from 5 to 50% in Uganda.

However, the good news is that malaria is preventable and avoidable according to the ministry of health and World Health Organisation.

More investments are being done to ensure that malaria is eliminated, the most recent being drawing emphasis to the proper use of treated mosquito nets.

It should be noted that in 2000, the government waived import taxes and tariffs on mosquito nets and netting materials to promote their usage.

The Under the Net Campaign

The campaign is an initiative by the Ministry of Health to end malaria in Uganda. This is being done through the distribution of free insecticide treated mosquito nets to all households across the country.

AMF is funding the campaign, with 11.6 million nets for distribution during 2020. This represents 50% of Uganda’s long-lasting Insecticide-treated Net (LLIN).

Global Fund also supported the campaign with 15 million nets. Other partners including the US President Malaria Initiative have also funded the project.

67 of Uganda’s 128 districts are to get nets in 2020 in a waved approach. The previous wave; wave 1 covered 25 districts in the Northern and Eastern regions.

Hon Joyce Moriku Kaducu, the State Minister in charge of Primary Health Care had earlier confirmed, during the launch of the campaign, that a total cost of USD 120m will be used for the campaign.

Over 27.5 million nets are being distributed. Currently, Wave 2 is underway covering over 28 districts namely; Sheema, Kakumiro, Buhweju, Bundibugyo, Mbarara, Kabalagala, Bunyangabo, Bushenyi, Isingiro, Kabale, Kabarole, Kanungu, Kasese, Kazo, Kiruhura, Kiboga, Kisoro, Kyankwanzi, Lyantonde, Mitooma, Nakaseke, Ntoroko, Rubanda, Ntungamo, Rubirizi, Rukiga, Rukungiri and Rwampara.

This was scheduled to take place from August 9 to 21.

Campaign Aims

The ‘under the net campaign’ is intended to fight malaria amidst Covid-19. The campaign aims at sensitizing masses against self medication if malaria signs and symptoms are noticed.

The pregnant mothers are advised to sleep under the mosquito nets for the safety of their safety and that of the unborn babies.

According to Dr Jimmy Opigo, the Assistant Commissioner for National Malaria Control Program, these treated mosquito nets have a lifespan of three years and don’t need to be re-treated.

However, the Ministry of Heath advises that before using a net, it must be hanged in a shed for over 24 hours to allow the chemical to evaporate a bit.

Dr Diana Atwine, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health confirmed that treatment of a single episode of malaria costs roughly Shs 29,700 which is expensive and as such, prevention should be prioritized.

Are the nets safe for everybody?

All categories of people can use the nets as they are safe for pregnant women, babies, children and any other person. The insecticide used is approved by the World Health Organisation and Ministry of Health.

A Covid Smart Net distribution Campaign

Necessary preparations by the responsible participants were made prior the distribution exercise and these include;

Training and sensitizing VHTs, data clerks on the campaign ‘Under the net 2020’ and the proceeding registration of beneficiaries and net distribution.

Digital systems have been used to collect data from households as Dr Opigo stressed. In this case, smart phone usage was prioritized by the VHTs and Data clerks rather than paper usage. This was so to prevent the spread Covid-19.

In Masodde Sub-county-Kyankwanzi district, VHTs and LC 1 data clerks used their phones to limit human contact during the registration.

VHTs and data clerks using phones to register people in Kyankwanzi district- Masodde sub-county.

Even with door to door distribution, Personal Protective gear was used. The equipment worth USD 3M was secured by the government as a measure to prevent the spread of covid-19 during the exercise.

It should be noted that unlike the previous net distribution exercises where people would pick them from particular local council stations, VHTs carried and delivered the nets to the various households.

The media has been very vital in passing on information about the distribution coverage while leaders have also used their various platforms to reach out to the masses in their areas of concern; constituencies, municipalities and Local councils among others.

Hon Robinah Nabbanja, the State Minister for health in charge of general duties remarked thus, “Zero Malaria starts with me. Fellow leaders, let us mobilise our communities to take up ownership of malaria prevention and care.”

WHO Recommendations

According to the WHO, Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs) are recommended for the prevention of malaria in children and all other persons.

Pregnant mothers are advised to attend all antenatal care visits, take malaria preventive medicine as prescribed by their health workers and sleep under a mosquito net every night.

 



Source – chimpreports.com

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Another blow as Judge throws out Kiggundu’s lawyer Muwema

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When court sat on Friday to hear the Kiggundu’s application to stop independent audit, he did not have a written application, and Justice Henry Adonyo instead ordered the plaintiff’s lawyer Fred Muwema to go make a written application seeking court to dismiss the audit and return to court on September 30 for a hearing of the application. But this adds more pressure on Kiggundu who is choking with the loans.

On 31 August, the judge ordered the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) to carry out and independent audit into the accounts of the businessman and financial statements exchanged between the two parties, and present a report to court.

When asked by journalists why he has filed for an application seeking dismissal of the audit, Fred Muwema had this to say. “We are saying that let the validity and legality of those credit facilities (loans) be decided first before you can audit” He said.

The ruling on the application of the main suit to determine whether the businessman owes loan arrears to the bank is set for 5th October 2020, after which a date for hearing of the case will be set.

Background

Hamis Kiggundu through his companies Ham enterprises and Kiggs International (U) ltd sued DTB branches in Kenya and Uganda for deducting money from his accounts something which the bank contends and said they only acted as per the loan agreement of deducting 30% from Kiggundu’s accounts to recover the credit facilities rendered to him between February 2011 and September 2016

But Court documents filed by the bank in their defense shows that Kiggundu, between February 2011 and September 2016, was granted various credit facilities by the said DTB Banks.

First, via Ham Enterprises Limited, Kiggundu obtained a loan of $6,663,453 and another Sh2.5bn from the DTB (U) to finance his projects in the real estate business.

Later, according to New Vision, he got a facility worth $4.5m through Kiggs International (U) Limited from DTB (K) and mortgaged his properties, which include Plot 328 located at Kawuku on Block 248 Kyadondo, three plots that include 36, 37 and 38 on Folio 1533 Victoria Crescent II situated in Kyadondo and land on Makerere Hill Road on LRV 3716 Folio 10 Plot 923 Block 9.

Documents show that as of January 21, 2020, Kiggundu was in default on payment obligations of $6.298m on the loan facility of $6.663m, as well as sh2.885b on the demand overdraft facility of sh1.5b and the temporary demand overdraft facility of sh1b.

The banks say that Kiggundu was in default on the payment of another $3.662m out of a total loan facility of $4m and another $458,604 on a loan facility of $500,000, as of January 21, 2020.

The DTB consequently served him with a demand notice to either pay up or lose the assets that he submitted as collateral security. The bank threatened to attach a plot on Makerere Hill Road and other prime commercial properties.

Analysts says that Kiggundu’s lawyer is playing delaying tactics aimed at stopping the independent audit as ordered by the court earlier. Kiggundu had wanted court to believe his own audit of loan transactions, but that would amount to injustice to the banks that gave him money-DTB Uganda and DTB Kenya.

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Minister Rukutana charged with attempted murder, remanded

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The state minister for Labour, Gender and Economic Development Mwesigwa Rukutana has been remanded to Kyamugorani prison in Mbarara district.

Rukutana appeared before Ntungamo Grade One magistrate Nazifah Namayanja this afternoon from where he was charged with seven offences related to attempted murder, assault, malicious damage, and threatening violence.

Rukutana was captured in a video that went viral on social media showing him grabbing a gun from one of his bodyguards and started shooting at a vehicle belonging to supporters of his political rival Naome Kabasharira. At the time of the incident, Rukutana had just lost the Rushenyi country NRM flag to Kabasharira.

The prosecution alleges that on September 5, 2020, at Kagugu village in Ntungamo district, Rukutana and others still at large assaulted Julius Niwamanya and threatened to kill or injure him together with three others. The others are Stuart Kamukama, Dan Rwibirungi, and Moses Kamukama. 

It is also alleged that Rukutana also willfully and unlawfully damaged a motor vehicle registration number UAR 840X Toyota Rav 4 type which belongs to Moses Muhumuza.

According to the Judiciary public relations officer, Jameson Karemani, Rukutana has not taken a plea of these charges against him since they can only be tried by the chief magistrate who was not in court today.

As a result, the magistrate decided to send him to Kyamugorani, awaiting his return to court on Tuesday.      





Source – observer.ug

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Lira district headquarters closed over COVID-19

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Lira district headquarters have been closed after one staff tested positive for COVID-19 last week. 

On Monday morning, district staff were blocked at the gate with only the deputy chief administrative officer, his secretary and the receptionist allowed access to their offices. 

Paul Samuel Mbiiwa, the deputy chief administrative officer says that only heads of department will be allowed at the headquarters while the rest will work from home. He adds that the restriction will help to curb the spread of the virus.

“You see corona is not a joke. We have taken a step at fighting it and that is why you are seeing the staff outside. Even in my office here I do not want people to come if there is anything we can discuss on the phone.”

Francis Okello Olwa, a senior community development officer who doubles as the district spokesperson says that the entire district offices will be fumigated and closed for two days.

Health authorities in the district are planning to take samples from all the staff because they could have interacted with the one who tested positive. Currently, there are 19 COVID-19 patients under treatment at Lira regional referral hospital.     

On Sunday four health workers at the hospital tested positive for COVID-19. Dr Patrick Odongo, a senior medical officer at the hospital also succumbed to the virus.  





Source – observer.ug

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