On Friday 17th July 2015, the Seeds for Development farmers asked for our help as a massive
Malaria epidemic takes hold in northern Uganda.
Malaria, the number one killer disease in Sub-Saharan Africa, is ravaging 10 districts in northern Uganda: Lamwo, Gulu, Kitgum, Oyam, Agago, Apac, Amuru, Kole, Nwoya and Pader are the worst hit. Hundreds of patients, including babies and children below five years and women, are stranded at health facilities as they wait to be attended to. On Wednesday 15th July, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, The Director General of Health Services said a total of 22,873 cases had been registered in the districts, with 162 confirmed deaths.
We know that this is not within our normal remit, but the people are cying out for help, we are listening and know that we can move quickly and effectively. Please help us help them.
THE CURRENT CRISIS
Seeds for Development farmers are located in Amuru, Gulu and Kitgum - three of the ten districts heavily affected by the recent Malaria outbreak.
The Ugandan Ministry of Health confirmed that the cause of the outbreak is because people are not sleeping under treated mosquito nets and the government programme to spray people's homes was stopped last year.
Nets were distributed through another government programme but, where they were handed out, were often used as fishing nets, wedding dresses or sold.
Medicine is available at local clinics and hospitals, but the closest clinic is a 3 kilometre walk (Lamogi) and the nearest hospital 20 kilometres away (Lacor).
On Sunday 19th July, we talked with one of the farmers (Devon Onen) and learned that on Friday, 59 of the 152 children at our Vision Hope Nursery School were absent due to Malaria.
When we visited in May, we saw that many of the children were sick, including this little 3 year old boy called Jacob.
WHAT THE FARMERS NEED
For more than 7 years we have listened to and learned from the farmers, ensuring that we support them with what they need and not what we think they should have.
This is what they are telling us they need:
1. Education and training
During our conversation on 19th July, Devon said they urgently need:
A doctor to come to their community and teach the Village Health Teams (VHT) how to quickly recognise patients with Malaria and what to do when they do.
To be taught how to use the nets effectively, correctly (and not as wedding dresses or fishing nets) and WHY THEY MUST USE THEM.
Educating on keeping the compound clear of grass, plants and water.
To understand the importance of home hygiene, sanitation and washing their hands to prevent other diseases flourishing.
2. Treated mosquito nets
The farmers live in very remote areas and are often more than a kilometre from their nearest neighbour. For whatever reason, they do not have mosquito nets. Distribution programmes by the government and large charities have not reached them.
3. Access to medication
First aid kits in the school, containing emergency Malaria medicine.
WHAT WE ARE DOING AND HOW YOU CAN HELP
We have the ability to reach the parts that other charities cannot reach! And we can get there quickly.
We work on the ground, directly with the farmers and communities helping them develop and build resilience to look after themselves.
The infrastructure is in place to transport, distribute nets and educate the population and we are perfectly positioned to act swiftly and effectively.
We are going to raise £10,000 to:
Run workshops to teach the community how to prevent Malaria by using nets effectively and the importance of home hygiene and sanitation.
Source and distribute 2,000 treated mosquito nets to 2,000 families in Amuru, Gulu and Kitgum.
You can help by donating money!
£5 will educate a family and provide one net for 5 children to sleep under.
£1 = 1 child
100% of your donation go to Uganda and will not be used for administration, fundraising or overheads.
You can donate now by clicking on the Just Giving button below. There are many other ways to donate