Bed nets in Uganda keep children safe from malaria

Lira, Uganda, looks peaceful as the sun drops below the horizon and its pink hues spread across the city. But the calm belies the fact that evening is the prime time for mosquito activity. Since Lira is one of the most densely populated areas of Northern Uganda, it is rife with malaria cases.

CCF's Malaria Project Manager, Rashid Mwesige, said Uganda records at least 328 malaria-related deaths each day. Malaria-based absenteeism from school runs as high as 33 percent in urban areas and 50 percent in rural areas of the country. At least two people in each family of six are infected with malaria, and pregnant women are four times more vulnerable to the disease.

In 2005, CCF and Research Triangle International implemented malaria programs in Lira at camps for Internally Displaced People (IDP). Those camps were constructed to shelter individuals who were fleeing from conflict areas. The program assisted 23,796 IDPs and distributed 9,000 insecticide-treated mosquito nets. It worked so well that the project was expanded to assist an additional 7,209 people and distribute another 2,200 treated bed nets.

As a result of the malaria prevention and control education and the use of medicated bed nets, malaria cases in Lira's Amwoma community have declined significantly. They dropped from 231 in February to 165 in March, proving that CCF-Uganda's malaria programs are helping to save lives.