Over 3,000 Households Reject Indoor Residual Spraying in Arua

More than 3,000 households in Arua district have rejected the ongoing Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) program meant to reduce the high malaria burden in the area.

The most affected households are in Ajia, Vurra, and Logiri sub-counties, where some spray operators have been attacked by the locals to prevent them from spraying their houses.

Gasper Drani, the Arua District Malaria Focal Point person, says that at least 3,510 homes have not been sprayed due to refusal by the residents. He further notes that some educational institutions have also rejected attempts to spray their facilities.

During the IRS program, dwellings, walls, and other surfaces of households that serve as a hiding place for mosquitoes are sprayed with chemicals. The chemical kills mosquitoes when they come in contact with treated surfaces.

Sandra Ewacabo, the Arua Chief Administrative Officer has blamed the resistance on the lack of enough sensitization among the locals about the program. She appealed to the Ministry of Health to rescind their directive for the district to return funds meant for the sensitization of the locals.

Cosmas Ayikobua, the Arua district LC 5 Vice chairperson calls for more involvement for the political leaders for better mobilization of the locals for the program.

Arua deputy Resident District Commissioner Ham Muzamil Ezama has described the decision of the residents to reject the IRS as unfortunate noting that before the intervention, malaria contributed to the high mortality and morbidity in the district. 

Last month, the Ministry of Health rolled out an Indoor Residual spraying exercise in northern Uganda, in an effort to reduce the high malaria burden in West Nile and Lango sub-regions. The IRS program, which is being funded by USAID under the Presidential Malaria Initiative covers nine districts in the West Nile sub-region namely, Adjumani, Koboko, Arua, Madi Okollo, Maracha, Moyo, Obongi Terego, and Yumbe.

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