Eighteen month old Sarah Nalubega used to fall sick every three to four weeks. Her mother Caroline Nakitende had just returned from Kakooge Health Center III where Sarah was admitted with severe fever when she learned of the Insecticide Treated Nets (ITNs) distribution exercise in her village in Nakasete. Joining the waiting line, she received an ITN from AMREF supported Village Health Team Members. Caroline, 28, lives in Nakasete village, Kakooge sub county, Nakasongola district. She had already lost one child at the tender age of one to malaria and was very worried that her fourth child, Nalubega would succumb to the same disease. However, since she started using the treated net, her daughter has not fallen sick.
Ninety five per cent of Uganda has high malaria rates and children below five years are most affected by the disease, especially in conflict affected areas. With an estimated 70,000 to 100,000 people dying every year, young Caroline could easily be among those affected by the disease. Yet malaria is a preventable disease. Long Lasting Insecticide-treated Nets (LLINs) used regularly by young children can reduce the overall risk of dying by 20 per cent and clinical malaria episodes by 50 per cent.
Between July 2012 and September 2012, AMREF, through the Maternal and Child Health Project procured and distributed 10,323 ITNs to children under five years (7226) and pregnant women (3097) in two sub counties of Nakitoma and Kakooge in Nakasongola district. Using 390 Village Health Team members who are trained to provide prompt and appropriate anti-malaria treatment to children under five years in communities, the nets were distributed to pre-qualified households – those with children under five years and pregnant women.
With time and resources saved which was previously taken up by looking after her sick children, Caroline is able engage herself in income generating projects such as piggery which has led to a better life for her family, “I now have a balanced diet, better clothing and more money for educating my children and dependants,’ proudly states Caroline.