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Uganda, 11 May 2013: “Invest in the future; defeat malaria” – United Nations

KAMPALA, 11 May, 2013 - The United Nations today joined the Uganda Government’s Ministry of Health to reaffirm their commitment to combat malaria, one of the world’s leading life threatening diseases.  In Uganda, the disease remains a leading cause of death among children and pregnant women, who are most vulnerable.

Health officials assert that malaria can be avoided by sleeping under an Insecticide-Treated Mosquito net (ITN) - one of the simplest ways of preventing malaria. According to the Uganda Demographic Health Survey (2011), less than half (43 per cent) of children under 5 sleep under ITNs. The figure is not much better among pregnant women with only 47 per cent using ITN regularly. 

Ugandan Minister of Health, Dr. Christine Ondoa, says malaria prevention and control remain a top priority in Uganda and that there is urgent need to rapidly scale up all interventions to achieve significant progress. 

“Everybody at risk should sleep under an Insecticide-Treated Mosquito net every night,” says Dr. Ondoa, adding that “The Government of Uganda will this May start distributing 21.5 million Long Lasting Insecticide Treated mosquito Nets (LLINs) throughout the country – with a universal coverage of one net for two people – in a bid to significantly reduce malaria cases in Uganda. Using bed nets is one of the safest methods of preventing and controlling malaria and may lead to 19 per cent reduction in child mortality and 40-50 per cent reduction in infections”.

Uganda is ranked among the six malaria high endemic countries in the WHO African region. The burden of the disease is still high with estimated 70-100,000 deaths per year among children under 5 years and between 10 and 12 million clinical cases treated in the public health system alone. WHO and UNICEF are working closely with the Government of Uganda to reverse this trend, in line with the 2015 Millennium Development Goal target of reducing malaria case by 75 per cent.  

“Contributing to the overall efforts to combat malaria is a significant part of our commitment to deliver as One UN in Uganda,” said Mrs.  Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onochie, United Nations Resident Co-ordinator in Uganda.  “As the United Nations in Uganda, we will continue to work with the Government of Uganda to ensure that the people of Uganda, including the most vulnerable, enjoy their right to health so as to contribute to the country’s development,” Mrs. Eziakonwa-Onochie added.

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