Uganda became active in the Stomping Out Malaria initiative in February of 2012. With 122 volunteers placed in every region of the country there is potential to create an effective malaria prevention plan. According to the Presidents Malaria Initiative (PMI), “Malaria is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Uganda accounting for 25-40 percent of outpatient visits to health facilities, 15-20 percent of all hospital admissions, and 9-14 percent of all hospital deaths. Nearly half of all inpatient deaths among children under 5 are attributed to malaria.” A World Health Organization (WHO) study states that only 10% of both children under 5 and pregnant women are currently sleeping under mosquito nets. This is a major factor in the 16% of children under 5 who die from malaria each year in Uganda.
Uganda is taking major strides in the area of malaria intervention supported by CDC, PMI, USAID and now the Stomping Out Malaria Initiative. The four areas of intervention to prevent and treat malaria include the use of insecticide-treated mosquito nets, indoor residual spraying (IRS), intermittent preventive treatment for pregnant women (IPTp) and proper diagnosis and treatment of complicated and uncomplicated malaria. Peace Corps volunteers in Uganda are actively involved with all four of these interventions.
In addition to these four areas, Peace Corps volunteers in Uganda are currently engaged in a wide range of behavior change activities including a bi-weekly radio show in Bushenyi. The show addresses malaria prevention and treatment behavioral issues. It airs during prime radio listening time, 8:30-9:00 pm, engaging listeners through question and answer sessions after an introduction to the behavior change topic. This is an interactive radio show that encourages listeners to engage the topics, and prizes are rewarded for those callers and individuals who sent in messages via SMS for their participation.
An example of another interesting behavior change activity was a drama show that took place in Mittoma, Uganda. The drama addressed good behaviors such as sleeping under a long lasting insecticide treated mosquito net (LLIN) every night in order to prevent malaria. Also, early treatment seeking behavior is promoted throughout the drama alongside the illustration of the signs and symptoms of malaria.