“I Pledge to Continue Fighting Malaria”

Speeches Shim

Monday, June 1, 2020
Ronald Kiribwa in Kalangala.

In a small village in the Kalangala district of central Uganda, Ronald Kiribwa’s cell phone rings. The caller is a mother from another village who has a sick child and needs help. Without hesitation, Kiribwa prepares his medicine box and jumps onto his motorbike to go and see the child. He suspects the child may have malaria because Kalangala is a malaria endemic district. After confirming the positive malaria test, Kiribwa provides treatment. 

But Kiribwa cannot leave just yet. He must use the opportunity to educate the family about malaria prevention measures. Using the knowledge and job aids acquired from USAID’s Malaria Action Program for Districts (MAPD) activity, he teaches the family about the dangers and signs of malaria. He reminds the household members to continue using mosquito nets and to clear breeding sites around the home. 

Kiribwa is one of the 156 village health team members who were trained and equipped by USAID to deliver malaria prevention, testing, and treatment services to communities. “People in my community are aware of malaria prevention due to the health education sessions we have conducted. In this COVID-19 era, they call me for support in case of any sign and symptom of malaria in their children,” Kiribwa says. During March and April 2020, Kiribwa tested 45 children. Thirteen of these were positive, and all were successfully treated.

People like Kiribwa carry out a range of activities such as conducting community dialogues, making home visits, and providing health education talks on malaria prevention and control. Their role is to support sustained positive health practices in the communities. Even during the challenging days of COVID-19, Kiribwa has pressed on with his work. “I pledged to continue the fight against malaria by travelling to households to conduct testing and treatment of malaria for children under five years old,” Kiribwa explains. 

Uganda ranks 8th in the number of malaria infections in sub-Saharan Africa and has some of the highest reported malaria transmission rates in the world. In 2017, malaria accounted for approximately 34 percent of outpatient visits and up to 30 percent of inpatient admissions.

Through the USAID/MAPD activity, USAID supports improvement of the health status of the Ugandans by reducing death from malaria among pregnant women and children under five years of age.