Mosquito net usage among expectant mothers in the South-Western Uganda remains low despite their availability in homes.
A survey by USAID-Rhites Southwest conducted between 2015 and 2018 indicates that while the mosquito net distribution in the district is up to 99 percent, their usage among pregnant women remains at 69 per cent.
The poor use of the nets exposes the expectant mothers to risk of contracting malaria in addition to endangering their unborn babies.
Alfred Besigensi, the Health Educator Kabale district, says that the challenge of usage has become a serious one and may not only be limited to expectant mothers alone. He says that the situation is, however, compromising for expectant mothers since they are vulnerable and must take extra caution.
Besigensi says that some of the mothers shun mosquito nets on grounds that they get allergic reactions.
Ntungamo District Health Officer Dr. Richard Bakamuturaki says that the practice of just hoarding mosquito nets in homesteads instead of using them is dangerous. He says that malaria is responsible for many cases of intrauterine growth retardation.
Bakamuturaki further reveals that other challenges such as low birth weight and inflaming of the placenta which compromises its resistance to diseases. He says that expectant mothers and the general population must take the use of mosquito nets seriously.
Apollo Kakonge, a resident of Bushenyi and Director at West Ankole Civil Society forum says that at times people chose comfort at the expense of prevention due to the myth attributed to usage of mosquito nets.
Kakonge adds that the quality of mosquito nets especially those distributed by the government are sub-standard and uncomfortable.
Bushenyi district health educator Gregory Tushabe says that residents must take the advice from health workers and other partners seriously since mosquito net usage is key.
Mbarara district health officer Dr. Peter Sebutinde says that beliefs about the use of mosquito nets are untrue and must be discarded by the community.
Janet Kangume, a resident of Mbarara town says that she has always found difficulty using the nets whenever she is pregnant.
Agnes Tumuheirwe is an expectant mother. She says that she is not using the mosquito net because the husband complains that it makes him uncomfortable.
Scovia Akanjuna an expectant mother claims that the mosquito net makes her sweat throughout the night.