Escaping malaria through Family Health Days
By Dr. Fred Kagwire, in Kabarole District
Kabarole District - On this bright Sunday morning, Rosemary Kobusingye and her five children arrive at Ruboona Archdeaconry, to attend prayers. At the end of the church service, Rosemary and her children also enjoy a whole range of free health services provided to community members at the church premises, courtesy of the Family Health Days (FHDs) service delivery programme.
These health services are normally not easily accessible, so Rosemary, who lives in Bulegeya village in Ruboona parish, Kisomoro sub-county in Kabarole District, ensures that she participates in the FHDs because each of her children receives Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) screening for nutrition, as well as immunisation, Vitamin A supplementation and de-worming tablets. Rosemary also receives malaria health education as part of the package. Her family boasts of good health and for this, Rosemary is thankful to the health workers for bringing services closer to them.
UNICEF, in partnership with the Ministry of Health and three faith-based organisations (FBOs), has instituted the FHDs during which an integrated package of health interventions is offered – free of charge - at various places of worship.
“During FHDs, we also educate families about malaria prevention,” says Dr. Richard Mugahi, District Health Officer for Kabarole. “We sensitize them about the use of insecticide treated mosquito nets, clearing bushes and stagnant water which harbor mosquitoes around their homes,” he adds.
Rosemary is happy that for the last one year, none of her five children has suffered from malaria, which she attributes to the regular use of insecticide-treated mosquito nets in her home, as well as adherence to other prevention messages received from health workers.
“Malaria treatment costs a lot of money yet we don’t have that much money to spend when the children fall sick,” says Rosemary. She further narrates that as a result of the health services received during the FHDs, her family is now healthy and this has enabled them avoid preventable health-related costs which would otherwise encroach on their meager peasant earnings.