Lira health experts said the malaria prevalence is still high, telling media to mobilize the populace as a new chapter begins.
IRS is a program of the Uganda government through the Ministry of Health with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
According to the health experts in Lira District, malaria infections among the community have remained a challenge with pregnant mothers and children below 5 years mainly affected.
This was revealed on Monday during an orientation meeting of Journalists from Lira held at Lira District Board Room
James Odur is a staff at the health department who revealed that malaria is still a leading health burden in the district, and urged the community to embrace Indoor Residual Spraying to kill mosquitoes.
“Because of the high prevalence rate of malaria, the government of Uganda through the Ministry of Health has come out with an IRS program as one of the ways to mitigate the spread among the population,” he told journalists, Monday.
On why the district has involved the media fraternity in the activity, he said the media is critical in creating awareness to the community so they can embrace the forthcoming IRS program.
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The scheduled IRS starts on February 28 to March 26, 2022, for both Lira district and Lira City.
Grace Atim is a Senior Health Educator for the Lira district. “The use of IRS is a very good initiative brought by the government to end malaria in Uganda,” she said.
She, however, expressed concerns that in the previous exercise, the district did not meet the expected number of households.
According to Grace Atim, only 85.5% were covered meaning that some households were left without being sprayed.
According to the report, Lira District Malaria prevalence is still high at 8.9%. Experts said the statistics on the ground could be high and blamed it on inadequate testing kits and some malarial drugs that the National Medical Store failed to supply.
“I also appealed to the community to embrace government programs like IRS and avoid depending only on donations,” Atim said.
The IRS Communication Specialist Dorcus Angom told members of the press to go out and be good ambassadors in creating awareness about the IRS program.
According to Angom, the chemicals to be used are safe, adding that the spray operators will undergo extensive training on how to apply the chemicals.
A total of 1,830 spray operators have been trained for this exercise.
Journalists also asked why the IRS program has been in Northern Uganda only, but Dorcus Angom refuted it, saying, “The program has been in 16 districts countrywide.”
Angom added those practicing organic farming should not despair because the fludora chemical is not harmful to their produce.
“Insecticides and chemicals are studied and inspected by the World Health Organization for not less than 5 years, so they are not harmful,” Angom explained
She also explained that during spraying household items should be taken out, and once the house is sprayed, occupants should allow the walls to dry for two hours before returning items in the house.