Kasese, Uganda, 15th April, 2009. The fight against Malaria has received a major boost with Hima Cement committing over US$ 230,000 to fund malaria control programmes in Hima town council in Kasese district.
The two year initiative which is expected to benefit 28,000 people is aimed at reducing prevalence of malaria by 50% in the area by 2010.
According to recent statistics released by the Malaria Consortium, it is estimated that malaria affects up to 500 million people causing an estimated 3 million deaths every year. The disease primarily affects vulnerable groups, in particular children under five and pregnant women.
“By implementing this Malaria Control Project within Hima Town Council, Hima Cement is showing the Commitment of the entire Group to helping employees, their families and surrounding communities to live a Healthier life. We are extremely proud of having our Ugandan Business Unit putting our strong conviction into practice, the conviction according to which there cannot be a sustainable leader without respect for the environment and social responsibility, which is at the core of our Principles of Action, that guide our business practices around the world since 1977 said Guillaume Roux, Lafarge Vice President xxxx when presiding over the launch of the programmes.
Speaking at the same occasion Hima Cement Plant Manager Allen Mate emphasised that the project would reduce the severity and effects of malaria on the community. “We are stepping in to support Government in the implementation of the National Malaria control Programme which is hard to streamline at local levels as shown in the Malaria base line survey.”
He added that the project will strengthen skills and capabilities of the community members in dealing with malaria and also towards changing behavior so as to alleviate the negative impact malaria has in Hima town council and the economy.
The Hima Cement Malaria project is designed to show the local community that they can do something about it and will take on a comprehensive approach, by combining different strategies for the simple purpose that this is the best learnt practice in public health, which will entail malaria control in pregnancy as pregnant mothers are more vulnerable to negative impacts of malaria, mosquito control in all house holds and other sleeping shelters and a holistic component in malaria disease prevention in the general population.
Hima Cement Corporate Social Responsibility officer Cerinah Zalwango said, “One of the projects’ major goals is the distribution of ……… mosquito nets that have been treated with……….., along with community sensitization to ensure that they are properly used. When used correctly, these nets are a proven method for drastically reducing the incidence of this mosquito-borne illness.”
She added that, “Antimalaria drugs will also be distributed to pregnant women and children under the age of 5 in the Hima town council in Kasese. And an education campaign will be carried out throughout the town council to train health workers and the community on how to prevent, diagnose and treat malaria.
The malaria baseline survey carried out late last year by Kabarole Research team focused on malaria awareness, Knowledge on malaria symptoms and signs, most affected age groups, access to malaria education materials, identification of a person with malaria by health workers and knowledge on treatment of malaria.
For more information, please contact Martha Chemutai on 0772 22 55 54