Why is it important to prevent Malaria in Schools?

Why is it important to prevent Malaria in Schools?

Malaria is one of the deadliest disease in the world estimated to kill 600,000 people annually. In Uganda 20 -23% of all illness is attributed to Malaria. Fortunately, malaria is both curable and preventable and the Ministry of Health in Uganda has come up with National Malaria Control Policy to guide stakeholders on treatment and prevention of Malaria. The policy calls for integrated approach that combines effective treatment of the sick and preventive activities with emphasis on use of insecticide treated mosquito nets.

The Role of Schools

Schools are well positioned to increase awareness about malaria treatment and prevention not only among the students and staff but also to the benefit of wider surrounding community. Schools can engage in a number of activities that support awareness including:

Offering seminars on control of mosquitoes that transmit malaria in collaboration with government officials

Working with nearby health facilities to sensitize community about treatment and prevention of malaria

Working with government and non-government actors to ensure access to and proper use of insecticide treated mosquito nets

Why prevention in schools

Preventing students from getting malaria is particularly important for the following reasons:

Young people vulnerable to malaria which accounts for 10 to 20% of deaths

Malaria often leads to severe illness leading to suffering and pain. Symptoms of malaria may include high grade fever, headache, pains, poor appetite, vomiting and sometimes convulsion

Malaria prevents children from attending school and it can jeopardize a child’s learning ability if neurological damage and anemia is sustained from repeated malaria infections

 UHMG supports increased access to Nets

Uganda Health Marketing Group (UHMG) - aware that use of mosquito nets is universally accepted as the best method for protection against Malaria- has joined the struggle to ensure increased access by the population to high quality insecticide treated nets. UHMG has partnered with Vestergaard -one of the leading companies in manufacture of nets in the world-to make available in the country PermaNet mosquito nets. PermaNet mosquito nets are convenient, ready-to-use and lasts a lot longer than ordinary nets. They are perfectly safe for adults, children and babies as well as pregnant women. PermaNet employs a superior technology which enables the slow release of the insecticide, and require no re-treatment or dipping and also has no smell. PermaNet is now available in all Pharmacies, Drug shops and supermarkets

 Reference:

Uganda National Malaria Control Policy, Ministry Of Health June 2011

Malaria prevention and control: an important responsibility of a health-promoting school.

(WHO information series on school health; document 13 2007)

Malaria Fact sheet. World health Organisation March 2013. 

www. Vestergaard.com

 By Khalid Mohammed

Head Supply Chain Management

Product Facility

Uganda Health Marketing Group

kmohammed@uhmg,org