Weekly Awesome: Malaria Awareness Day at The Ugandan American Partnership Organization (UAPO)

Kathryn Carlton poses with a womens group after purchasing subsidized bed nets in Jinja

Kathryn Carlton is a Health Volunteer living and working in Jinja, Uganda  as a staff member of The Ugandan American Partnership Organization.

Written By: Kathryn Carlton

Malaria is a the leading cause of death in Uganda, killing over 100,000 people every year including tens of thousands of children under the age of five. Uganda’s tropical climate creates an optimal environment for malaria carrying mosquitoes to breed and multiply putting all Ugandans at great risk. In a survey administered in early 2013, it was reported that over 70% of women working with the Ugandan American Partnership Organization (UAPO) in Jinja still struggle with the negative health and economic consequences that malaria is associated with. Not only does malaria put their lives at risk, but it also prevents our UAPO women from attending work, earning money and providing for their families thus perpetuating the continuous cycle of poverty.

Soft Power Health emphasizes education about malaria before they allow subsidized nets to be sold.
Soft Power Health emphasizes education about malaria before they allow subsidized nets to be sold.

In recognition of Malaria Awareness month in April, ¬†the UAPO staff hosted a malaria education and prevention event at our Jinja office. The purpose of the event was to educate the women about malaria, heighten their awareness of malaria‚Äôs dire consequences and give them an opportunity to purchase insecticide- treated mosquito nets at a subsidized cost. We started the event off with a drama written by a current Peace Corps Volunteer about a family which suffers greatly because of malaria. Some of UAPO‚Äôs men and women participated in acting out the drama, taking their roles very seriously. We also invited local NGO, SoftPower Health, to present helpful and educational information about malaria prevention and treatment. The SoftPower educators answered many of UAPO‚Äôs questions about the deadly disease. The event ended with a very successful mosquito net sale, where the women were able to stock up on high quality nets for their families. 100% of UAPO members participated in the net sale, some buying more than one for their children. As a result of this event’s great success, we’ve decided to replicate the event with our other women‚Äôs groups in the greater Jinja District in June. It is our hope that through these events, we can empower women with the knowledge to prevent malaria from affecting their families and in turn eliminate yet another obstacle for their progression out of poverty.

Soft Power Health nets are multi-colored; the hope is that these attractive nets will be more highly valued, and therefore more used.
Soft Power Health nets are multi-colored; the hope is that these attractive nets will be more highly valued, and therefore more used. 

31 nets were given out to the 24 members of The Ugandan American Partnership Organization.   To see more from this project, click here.   Kathryn Carlton plans to extend the scope of her project with the help of Soft Power Health.  Stay tuned to see more from Kathryn in the future!

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