Malaria is a huge problem in Uganda, with Mosquitoes all around the country carrying the infectious disease. Mosquitoes particularly inhabit and breed in warm, stagnant water. The drainage and general sanitation in Katanga is very poor and so there is not a shortage of stagnant water, and as a result, mosquitoes in Katanga.
The best way to protect yourself from the bite of a mosquito is to have a special net over your bed that mosquitoes can’t get through.
Many families in Katanga can not afford to buy a net, despite understanding the importance of protection, despite having friends and family die because of malaria.
Every Ugandan I speak to is very flippant about a new case of malaria, saying things like, ‘I have had it 3 times this year already’. They are flippant, not because malaria is not very serious, but because it happens so frequently to Ugandans all around the country.
There are different strains of malaria, some that can kill in hours and other strains that providing you get the correct medication you will be able to get better.
The problem with handing out mosquito nets is you can’t just hand them out to everyone. People are well known for taking the mosquito nets and then selling them on to others for a quick financial gain.
As part of working with the families we get to know their home situation, including things like whether they sleep under a net or not. Our continued relationship with them means we are able to do regular checks on the family to ensure the nets are still up in their house to ensure prevent them from selling them on.
We give nets first to those who are the most vulnerable to being affected by malaria e.g. pregnant women and children. The malaria nets we give out are ‘family nets’, which means you can put 1 over a mattress and that will cover as many as 8 children each night. The nets cost only £5 per month but are worth so much more than that in lives saved and cost in medication each time they get ill.
If you are interested in donating into out Health program, to buy more mosquito nets for families in Katanga then you can give to Hope for Life at £5/net on our donate page.
You can read our last post on giving out new dresses to children in Katanga… Day 6 – Dresses