At the start of December 2020, a digital interview between Arnoud Aalbersberg (Care Plus®) and Ashaba Faridah (Bambino Life Foundation) took place to discuss the effects of COVID-19 on malaria in Uganda.
Bambino Life Foundation
Ashaba Faridah is a Ugandan pilot who wants to make a difference in her community, so she founded Bambino Life Foundation. The Bambino Life Foundation promotes girl child education and empowerment and children welfare. The common goal of both the Bambino Life Foundation and Care Plus® is to protect people from malaria by education on malaria and malaria prevention. Bambino Life Foundation educates children on malaria and reaches out printed mosquito nets in rural areas provided by Care Plus®. COVID-19 has an impact on the goal to eradicate malaria and on the activities that the Bambino Life Foundation does.
COVID-19 in Uganda
Uganda got ahead of COVID-19 before there were any cases. The president put the country under lockdown and closed the borders which resulted in a number of COVID-19 deaths below 40 in Uganda, but the strict lockdown measures affected the outreaches as well.
Double effect of COVID-19 on malaria; no outreaches and increased risk of malaria
Normally large groups of 500-600 girls gather together for an outreach, but the Ugandan government put a stop on large groups. Bambino Life Foundation was able to do only one small outreach since the start of the pandemic. To make outreaches possible again in the rural areas of Uganda, hand sanitizers and reusable face masks are needed.
Moreover, the risk of malaria increased as people stay inside their houses and mosquitoes prefer dark places like in houses. So, there’s a double negative COVID-19 effect on malaria.
Recent WHO insights on malaria
In the last 15 years malaria infections and deaths decreased by 50% to around 420.000, but the World Health Organization* (WHO) reported that the numbers are increasing again and are close to potentially 1 million malaria deaths again, so we’re basically back at the start.
* Source: World Health Organization
Malaria is deadlier than the COVID-19 pandemic
Malaria is a deathlier pandemic than COVID-19. Every minute, someone dies from malaria. Most people, especially in rural areas, cannot afford proper medical help once they have malaria. Although malaria makes more victims than COVID-19, the latter gets way more attention than malaria. Probably because malaria currently is not a global problem whereas COVID-19 is.
Uganda’s fight against malaria
The Ugandan government is doing its best in the continuous fight against malaria. In the past, they have distributed mosquito nets as well, but those mosquito nets are no longer up in the houses because of the low quality of the nets. Often, they are used as fishing nets. The government can’t do the fight on its own, initiatives like the cooperation between Care Plus® and Bambino Life Foundation help in the fight. Especially since the provided nets are printed which make them super wanted by the local communities for their decoration.
Buy One, Give One program
Every buyer of Care Plus® product helps in the fight against malaria. The Buy One, Give One program makes sure that 1 percent of the turnover is used to make the world malaria free by 2030, for example by sponsoring printed nets to the Bambino Life Foundation in Uganda.