Fund A Project
Sectors: Health, Education, Child Rights Advocacy
The Location: Bugiri District, Uganda
Direct Beneficiaries: 1,300 children and adults
The Challenge: Although media coverage and development funds are often focused on the fight against HIV/AIDS in Uganda, the most common cause of death among children under five is not HIV/AIDS but malaria.
A completely preventable and treatable disease, malaria can quickly become fatal, especially among children. Malaria is spread by mosquitoes and as a result, the risk of contracting malaria is much higher during the rainy seasons and at dusk and dawn. Sleeping under insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITNs) is the most effective way to prevent malaria — nets can reduce the incidence of disease by up to 90% and greatly reduce the number of malaria-related deaths in Uganda.
Although the average cost of a mosquito net is just $4, they are still too expensive for the 76% of Ugandans who live on less than $2 a day. For example, in Katabi Sub County of Wakiso district, only 1,737 people out of 59,065 — approximately 3% — sleep under ITNs.
Worse still, unsafe housing often forces children to sleep in the open air, boats or canoes, exposing them to more mosquitoes and even greater risk of malaria.
The Solution: The HuysLink Community Initiative works towards malaria prevention and treatment among vulnerable children and youth who are most at risk of contracting malaria. Through community-based education and awareness, HuysLink reduces the risk of death by malaria in Uganda’s most impoverished areas.
HuysLink has identified 433 households that will benefit from insecticide-treated mosquito nets. A total of 1,300 children under five years old and pregnant or nursing mothers will receive ITNs as well as training on proper usage and maintenance. Insecticide-treated nets will offer these 1,300 vulnerable children and women up to 90% protection compared with no net.
Public Awareness and Community Sessions to Increase Awareness: To raise awareness about the treatment and prevention of this deadly disease, HuysLink holds public dialogue sessions, educational dramas, poster campaigns and radio programs that reach thousands of community members. The educational sessions on malaria teach participants about how malaria is contracted, how to avoid it, how to identify it and how best to treat it.
Provision of ITNs: As a practical tool to fight malaria, the program provides mosquito nets to the most vulnerable groups such as children and pregnant or nursing mothers. Because of the high rates of child malnutrition, Ugandan children tend to struggle the most with poor health. The combination of malnutrition and malaria can be lethal so the program identifies children under five as those with the greatest need.
Training: In addition to providing general information on malaria and mosquito nets for prevention, the project also offers training on usage and maintenance. The group training sessions teach participants how to properly set up mosquito nets and how to maintain these nets including when and how to re-treat the nets with insecticide. Insecticide-treated nets are twice as effective as non-treated nets, so it is critical to ensure they are used and maintained properly.
Planned Results: An increased awareness of malaria prevention and treatment will lead to the reduction in the number of incidents of malaria and the tragedy of preventable deaths. Canadian Feed The Children and HuysLink will work to ensure that more children are protected from this deadly disease, improve health conditions for children under five and pregnant or nursing mothers and give them the chance to thrive.
Making a World of Difference: In 2010, CFTC provided 1,800 mosquito nets to children under five and pregnant or nursing mothers. Indirectly, more than 11,000 people in Uganda will benefit from the distributed mosquito nets, information sessions and educational materials. CFTC increased malaria awareness, provided mosquito nets and training on usage and maintenance to 600 Ugandan families.