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US gives Uganda Shs140b to support malaria fight

By Melanie Aanyu,

The United States of America has given Uganda $40 million (Shs140 billion) to support interventions to halve the malaria burden in the next five years.

Dr Jimmy Opigo, the programme manager for Malaria control at the Ministry of Health, said the support has been made possible by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Dr Opigo said misuse of over-the-counter drugs has compounded the malaria problem in Uganda.

This followed the launch of the Presidential Malaria Initiative (PMI) Uganda malaria reduction activity—a five-year project that will be conducted in the five regions between February 2022 and February 2027.

PMI is a US government initiative designed to reduce malaria deaths and illnesses in target countries in sub-Saharan Africa like Uganda.

Malaria kills 16 Ugandans daily and causes an estimated annual economic loss of $500 million (Shs1.76 trillion) due to treatment costs and work time lost.

Mr Benjamin Binagwa, the public health specialist who is the chief of party for the project, said the project was designed to address existing gaps in the malaria fight.

In a related development, Health minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng disclosed that the government will embark on vaccinations of children against malaria, as a major step towards eliminating one of the country’s major health threats.

Dr Aceng revealed that government plans are nearing implementation with—among others—undertaking research around the malaria vaccine. She was in the House responding to shadow Health minister Dr Timothy Batuwa’s (Jinja South West) inquiry about the government’s intervention against malaria.