Uganda: Thousands of Free Mosquito Nets Sold On Black Market

By Agencies

The use of long lasting insecticide treated nets each night is one of the most effective ways to prevent malaria, Vanuatu, 2012. Photo: DFAT
The use of long lasting insecticide treated nets each night is one of the most effective ways to prevent malaria, Vanuatu, 2012. Photo: DFAT

Thousands of treated mosquito nets that were procured the by government for free distribution to citizens across the country in the fight against malaria have found their way to shops and streets in Kampala.

The mosquito nets which have a hard texture compared to the other brands on the open market, go for Shs25,000.

Mr Abbas Tuhabwe, a vendor in Ntinda, near Kampala, says he gets the mosquito nets from a certain shop in the city at Shs12, 000. He, however, declined to disclose the location of the shop.

He says the nets are on high demand because they are durable and treated compared to other nets being imported.

Mr Edward Kakungulu, another hawker says he gets the nets through a network of people who manage the stores where they are kept before distribution and those who transport them to different parts of the country.

Both Mr Tuhabwe and Mr Kakungulu say they repackage the nets before selling them to the public.

The Director of Health Services Clinical and Community in the Health Ministry, Dr Anthony Mbonye, says they have so far recorded two cases of theft of government mosquito nets in Kapchorwa and Serere districts.

According to Dr Mbonye, the theft of nets is detrimental to the malaria control programme since it abuses the campaign and leads to the loss of nets in an already expensive venture.

Mr Jimmy Opigo, the Manager National Malaria Control Programme, says one shipment of 574 bales of mosquito nets enroute to Serere in Eastern Uganda was diverted to central region. He says the transporters decided to go to Mityana instead of the designated district.

He says the truck packed at a house in Mityana where the nets were stashed temporarily before being moved to unknown locations.

Under the campaign, the Health Ministry targets to distribute 25 million nets valued worth 331.5 billion shillings.

The nets were procured with funding from the Global Fund, Department for International Development and President’s Malaria Initiative and Against Malaria Foundation.

Source: allafrica.com

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