Uganda and malaria, from the inside

This is probably as close to we can come to know what’s going on inside Uganda, especially with regard to malaria and efforts to fight it there.  Go see Mars and Aesculapius, “World Malaria Day.

As you can see, simply pumping DDT into the countryside is unlikely to solve the problems.


2 Responses to Uganda and malaria, from the inside

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    I find it difficult to believe that all 39,000 mosquito nets would be converted to fishing nets — but this only points up the problems of poverty in fighting malaria. The tobacco and cotton interests say that DDT will be converted to other uses, too.

    So, should we provide more nets, knowing some of them will go to fishing, or should we switch to DDT, knowing some of it will end up in the water, poisoning the fish?

    More nets, please.

    What do you see as the solution here, Adrian? You’re on the ground. Should we give up?


  2. adrian says:

    I thought maybe this would interest you.
    The problem with mosquito nets is that they are so damn useful!
    I have seen then used as wedding dresses and they are often used as decoration at weddings and funerals, usually to brighten up the UNICEF tarps that shelter the guests from the sun and rain.
    I suspect the ‘sliver-bullet’ theorists who promote ITNs as the key to malaria prevention, will choose to ridicule this as exceptional, but it isn’t. I have some great photos of novel uses for ITNs if you want a few

    By Fred Simiyu
    Aug 2, 2008 – 1:03:59 AM
    Mayuge in danger as mosquito, tsetse fly traps become fish nets
    Posted in: News
    Living a day at a time and crossing the bridge when you reach it is all what seems to matter to most of the Mayuge residents, especially those living along the shores of lake Victoria, whose main means of survival is fishing.

    The residents much to the disappointment of the local authorities are using mosquito nets to catch fish. They also turn testse fly traps into garments. Mayuge is one of the districts that has been greatly affected by malaria and sleeping sickness.

    And this is the reason why Farming in Tsetse fly Controlled Areas, a non government organisation has for the past three years supplied chemically treated nets to kill mosquitoes and tsetse flies that cause malaria and sleeping sickness.

    But the fishermen think the nets can better be utilised in catching fish. The residents are also stealing tsetse fly traps and use them as garments much to the chagrin of entomologists and vermin control personnel in the district.

    These illegal activities have led to the increase of Tsetse flies and mosquitoes in the area, a situation which has direct negative impact to the communities as health officials warn of increased cases of malaria and sleeping sickness in the area.

    Mr Valentine Oketh, an official from the NGO in charge of distribution and setting up of the vermin traps, narrates how disappointed he gets when residents steal the traps soon after he has set them up.

    “Most tsetse fly traps set out are stolen by residents and converted into clothes to wear or bed sheets,” he says. “I am worried that some of the residents might bring rags into close contact with children or use them to cover food and kill themselves in the process. Dangerous chemicals are applied on the traps, and this could harm the people.” Whenever the traps are taken away, according to Oketh, tsetse flies are empowered to freely spread the disease.

    As Mr. Oketh still worries about the risks the residents are facing, the island dwellers and the fishermen on the shore line are on the other hand converting most of the 39,000 treated mosquito nets recently donated to them by government into fishing nets.

    Government donated the nets to Mayuge in June this year through the Ministry of Health to fight the increased spread of malaria in the district.

    However, the Baitambogwe and Imanyiro Beach Management Unit Joint Committee Chairman Patrick Basoga revealed recently that fishermen were using the nets to catch small fish species locally known as ‘mukene’.

    “To a certain extent the existence of adverse poverty has compelled most residents to lose sense of protection against the deadly disease vectoring insects,” says Ms Annet Nasubo Sentongo, a district
    councillor for Baitambogwe.

    The area leaders say that although malaria is the leading killer disease in the district, the biting poverty has led the fishermen to illegally convert mosquito nets into fishing gear.

    “Since the fishermen are now too poor to afford the ever increasing prices of fishnets this seemed an opportunity to continue catching more fish without buying nets,” says Mr Basoga.

    The Officer in Charge of Busuyi Police Post in Baitambogwe, Mwase Mutwalubi, exhibited some of the few mosquito nets impounded during a recent crackdown to the Beach Management Unit Committee members present in the meeting on July 13.

    He said mosquito nets used for fishing have been confiscated from the fishermen of Buluba and Misoli landing sites in Baitambogwe sub-county.

    Although the use of illegal fishing gear is still common especially at Misoli Landing Site, the police officer said arresting the culprits is proving difficult because they (fishermen) are alerted by some members of the Beach Management Committee whenever an operation is planned.
    © Copyright 2008 by Monitor Online


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