By tonny abet
A group of teachers in Uganda has asked the government to focus on fighting malaria in children, saying that high levels of infection are affecting learning.
Severe malaria affects children’s learning and cognitive skills by up to 60 percent, and affects performance and progress in education, according to the Department of Health.
Leonard Okokes, the principal at Outspan Elementary School in Kampala, said on launching picture books to improve elementary school students ‘knowledge of the dangers of malaria and how to prevent it, saying they had trouble changing learners’ mindsets about its importance of sleeping under mosquito nets.
“Some of the students have bad beliefs. They say that when they sleep under a mosquito net they suffocate or become itchy. But it’s about giving them more knowledge about the importance of sleeping under mosquito nets, ”he said
He said that between March and April alone, 10 serious cases of malaria were reported among their learners and that it was costly to administer and not only disrupted learning.
According to Dr. Tony Mukasa Lusambu, the Commissioner for Basic Education at the Ministry of Education and Sports (MOES), spread in many schools across the country.
Dr. At launch, Mukasa directed the picture books written by Ugandan science teachers under their umbrella, the River Flow International-Science Teachers Initiative (RIFI-STI), and asked the Ministry of Health to direct funds at schools to train children to fight malaria.
He said the country’s ambition to end malaria will not give in if children, who are the coming leaders and parents, are not made to understand the importance of malaria prevention and how to proceed.
“Malaria prevention information should be improved, and these books will be very important. The Ministry of Health should continue the Mass Action Against Malaria (MAAM) project, which involved students and teachers in the fight against malaria, ”said Dr. Mukasa.
RIFI-STI’s promotional officer, Ms. Stella Namatovu, said the books were developed in line with the national primary school curriculum and that the initiative is working with other partners such as World Vision to bring the books to hard-to-reach schools across the country.
According to a 2020 report by Arthur Mpimbaza of Makerere University College of Health Sciences, the incidence rate for intake of malaria in children aged 1 month to 14 years in the country was 7.3 per 1000 between 2017 and 2018.
Dr. Diana Atwine, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Health, wrote in a tweet on April 16 that in the completed national mosquito net distribution campaign, of the approximately 28.4 million mosquito nets received, approximately 27.8 million mosquito nets were distributed to communities.
The aim of the campaign was to further reduce the overall prevalence of malaria in the country, which is currently 9 percent. However, a significant number of adults and children do not use the nets to protect themselves from mosquito bites.