According to the 2011 performance report by Gulu district health department released last week, Gulu district has been ranked second in the indoor residual spray exercise that is being carried out in northern Uganda.
The two districts were closely followed by Kole which also scored 93 percent but was ranked third to other factors.
Richard Ocan Onen, the Deputy Chief of Party Abt Associate, Uganda Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) Project attributed the “good coverage” to “the good mobilization by the local leaders in Gulu district.”
He however, noted that the challenges have been; pilferage and abuse of the bendocarp chemical used in the spray exercise, data falsification by the spray operators and theft of the chemical by some individuals which is sold to farmers to spray their crops such as tomatoes.
He also said that the current rainy season was a hindrance to their work since many of the household’s livelihoods depend on agriculture; as such they were unable to access certain households.
He urged the community to allow their houses to be sprayed so that “they have productive healthy families.”
The residual spraying exercise is a Shs70 billion shillings project funded under the US presidential Malaria initiative for Africa, part of the fight against malaria Programme in Uganda which is aimed at cutting down deaths from mosquitoes.
The report has indicated that there is a reduction in the malaria burden in the district due to the IRS project.
Malaria remains the number one killer disease among children under five years and number three to adults in Africa.
Meanwhile a team from the Ministry of Health and Abt Associate, Uganda Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) have warned that some farmers in Koro Sub County in Gulu district are spraying their tomato plantations destined for Gulu local market with bendocarp chemical which could be harmful when consumed.
This was revealed during a dissemination workshop held at the Gulu district council hall last Friday and it was established that there is too much insecticide pilferage and abuse.
Ocan told Acholi Times that they had received reports that some farmers in Koro Sub County are using Bendocarp, the insecticide meant for the indoor residual spraying for spraying their crops such tomatoes, “this can be harmful if not controlled,” he said.
He added that there are also reports that some people have been intentionally contaminating rivers with the chemicals.
But he blamed the sprayer operators and the lack of supervisors on the ground to ensure that the chemicals are solely used for its intended purposes and properly disposed.
In March this year, there were reports that 5 cattle were poison in Patiko Sub County.
Ballington Olweny P’Ongwech, the Councilor Five representing Bungatira Sub County said that the problem can only be solved once the district has been granted the power to oversee and monitor the spraying exercise, which it does not have at the moment.
According to P’Ongwech, the problem arises because Abt Associates Uganda IRS Project, the organisation involved in the spraying is “too much money minded to care about the safety of the community.”
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