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Coast Week-Uganda rolls out indoor residual spraying to reduce malaria cases

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KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) -- Uganda started Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) in the northern and eastern parts of the country where the deadly malaria is most prevalent.

The spraying will take place in 16 districts to protect the 4.5 million people there against the deadly disease, the ministry of health said in a statement.

The exercise will be scaled up to 50 districts, according to the Uganda Malaria Reduction Strategic Plan 2014-2020.

The IRS has proven to be an effective malaria prevention strategy and has rapidly reduced malaria out-patient and in-patient attendances, said a recent Malaria Indicator Survey conducted by the country’s health ministry.

The survey also showed that positive rate for malaria in all districts where the strategy has been implemented.

The IRS is the application of a long-lasting, residual insecticide to potential malaria vectors resting on surfaces such as internal walls, eaves, and ceilings of houses or structures, where such malaria vectors might come into contact with the insecticide.

The UN World Health Organization recommends the use of IRS in epidemic-prone areas and regions with stable malaria transmission.

According to the Ugandan health ministry, the IRS strategy is used in addition to other malaria prevention strategies such as the use of long-lasting, insecticide-treated bed nets, case management and surveillance.

"Once fully implemented as laid down in the new National Malaria Reduction Strategy, the interventions are expected to have a drastic impact on malaria in the country," said Asuman Lukwago, permanent secretary of the ministry of health.

It is hoped that by 2020, the country will have reduced the annual malaria death rate to zero and there will be a reduction of malaria morbidity to 30 cases per 1,000 population.

Figures from the ministry of health show that Uganda currently has the sixth highest number of annual deaths from malaria in Africa and some of the highest reported malaria transmission rates in the world.

Over 10,500 die from the disease annually.

"Malaria consumes a substantial amount of the health budget, thus affecting economic development. Reduction of cases and even the ultimate interruption of malaria transmission are therefore critical," Lukwago said.

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