The UK has launched a new £45 million programme to tackle malaria in Uganda, with a goal of saving the lives of more than 11,000 children.
The Department for International Development (DfID) will be investing the money, which is enough to prevent 989,000 malaria cases in the country, the department said in its announcement earlier this month.
Uganda has some of the highest reported malaria transmission rates in the world.
The programme, launched on Nov. 1, will support the UK’s priority on tackling the preventable diseases that kill mothers and their children around the world.
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“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,” according to a statement released by the British High Commission in Uganda.
The statement said that investing to save lives from malaria is a “priority” for the UK government, and that “failure to tackle malaria could undermine the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.”
According to UNICEF, 90% of malaria cases worldwide occur in sub-Saharan Africa, killing more than 1 million people each year — most of whom are children under the age of 5.
Uganda currently has the third highest number of deaths from malaria per year in Africa, and the frequency of cases also has a serious impact on the financial situation of countless households.
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To treat each bout of malaria costs a family the equivalent of £5, which can add up to a significant proportion of the income for many families — with the average household income being about £62 a month, according to the most recent data released by the Ugandan Bureau of Statistics.
Over the past four years, the British government has already invested £47 million to support the Ugandan response to malaria.
The new funding announced last week by the UK will continue to strengthen capacity to prevent and control malaria in 23 “high-burden” districts in Uganda.
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It will also continue to support the Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) programme, implemented together with the US government. The UK and US support for the programme over the past four years has provided effective protection against malaria, diarrhoea, and pneumonia for an estimated 1 million people in the country.
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