On 1 November 2017, the Department for International Development (DFID) marked the launch of a new £45 million programme to fight malaria in Uganda over the next 5 years. The 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. Interventions under the programme will include support to Indoor Residual Spraying and Integrated Community Case Management of malaria, diarrhoea and pneumonia. It will also strengthen district capacity to prevent and control malaria in 23 high burden districts.
The programme will support the National Malaria Control Programme to manage the response to malaria including the use of data for decision making. This funding will complement the UK’s continued support through the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) to help Uganda take forward critical actions in the fight against malaria. Since its inception in 2002, the GFATM had disbursed up to $623 million to Uganda to fight HIV, TB and malaria. In 2016, the UK announced a £1.1 billion pledge to the GFATM making it one of the third largest donors to the fund.
Over the past four years, the UK government invested £47 million to aid 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 million people in five high burden districts of Alebtong, Amolatar, Dokolo, Kaberamaido and Otuke.
Speaking at the close out event for the IRS programme, the DFID Head of Office, Jennie Barugh said:
We know that proven interventions such as Indoor Residual spraying are helping countries like Uganda to significantly reduce the number of deaths, and cases of malaria more generally. I commend the Ministry of Health for its leadership in the fight against malaria. Even as we mark the close out of the IRS programme, we must not forget the challenges that remain in the fight against malaria.
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.