The United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) has today marked the launch of a new programme to tackle malaria in Uganda. Over the next five years, the UK government will invest up to sh215 billion ($59m) to tackle malaria in the country. A statement from DFID stated that the new programme will avert at least 11,056 deaths of children under-5 and prevent 989,000 malaria cases, contributing to the UK government’s priority on tackling preventable maternal and child deaths.
Uganda has the third highest number of annual deaths from malaria in Africa, as well as some of the highest reported malaria transmission rates in the world. “Malaria has an indirect impact on the economy and development in general, driving high household expenditures on health, causing lost productivity, and slowing down economic growth. Investing to save lives from malaria is a priority for the UK government as failure to tackle malaria could undermine the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals,” the DFID statement said. Treating malaria costs a family on average Sh 25,000 per episode – adding up to a significant proportion of annual income for many households. Over the past four years, the UK government invested $61m to support the response to malaria. This included support to the Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) programme jointly implemented with the US government, which provided effective protection for approximately 1,000,000 people in five high burden districts of Alebtong, Amolatar, Dokolo, Kaberamaido and Otuke.