The Ministry of Health has introduced a new larvicide method in Ankole Sub-region as part of their efforts to combat malaria, which is a significant health issue in Uganda.
This larvicide is a type of insecticide designed to control mosquitoes by targeting their larvae. Uganda ranks third globally in terms of the malaria burden, with over 12 million reported cases each year, affecting around three out of every ten people in the country.
During the launch of this initiative in Mitooma District, Dr. Diana Atwine, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health, represented by Dr. Alfred Mubangizi, the programs officer for vector-borne and neglected tropical diseases, emphasized that the use of larvicide will gradually reduce malaria transmission. This new approach aims to tackle outdoor mosquito breeding areas such as swamps and stagnant water by applying herbal larvicide, which is safe for humans and aquatic life.
Dr. Mubangizi explained that the larvicide, extracted from plant chlorophyll, is a powdered substance that is applied to mosquito breeding habitats. It targets mosquito larvae during their development, particularly when they are most voracious, and effectively reduces their numbers.
This larvicidal program has also been initiated in Kigezi and Lango sub-regions. The Ministry of Health has obtained approval from both the National Environmental Authority and the National Drug Authority for the safety of this larvicide.
Vincent Katamba, a senior entomologist at the ministry, leads the program and collaborates with village chiefs and village health teams to identify breeding sites. They employ the “3Fs” criteria, which include sites that are fixed, foundable, and few, for larvicide application. Sites not meeting these criteria are identified by local communities and subsequently managed.
For effective treatment, approximately six milligrams of larvicide are applied per square meter in a breeding ground. Dr. Sadic Byamugisha, the district health officer, is optimistic that this new tool will help reduce the malaria burden, especially in areas bordering Queen Elizabeth National Park, where malaria prevalence is particularly high.