The Ministry of Health has said that the recently launched Plascon malaria controlling paint is not harmful to humans.
According to the health ministry, the paint is user-friendly and more efficient than other mosquito control measures such as residue spraying.
Dr. Jimmy Opigo, the head of the Malaria Control program says the paint is safe because its main ingredient is from plants. One of the ingredients-Pyrethroids used to make the paint is the same used in the manufacturing of insecticide-treated mosquito nets.
The mosquito-killing paint was launched by President Museveni last month. According to Plascon, the manufacturers of the paint, the mosquito killing paint is effective for two years and can kill mosquitoes that cause dengue fever, Zika virus, avian malaria in birds and malaria in human beings.
The paint kills mosquito by weakening their nervous system on contact. This leaves mosquitoes unable to fly away leaving because they are weak and eventually they are knocked away. Once used on a wall, the paint remains effective for up to two years.
According to Dr. Opigo, no studies have been made in Uganda to ascertain the effects the paint has on humans. The ministry, however, is depending on results elsewhere in countries like Zambia to promote the paint.
On the Ugandan market, another option to insect repelling paint is already available from Ghana. The paint called Inesfly Africa insecticide on the open market costs an average 80,000 shillings Plascon’s mosquito paint is also sold at the same price for five litres of paint.
Dr. Bayo Segan Fatunmbi, the team leader for Malaria at World Health Organisation (WHO) says they are going to keep a close eye on the paint.
According to doctors, inhaling paint has no long term health side effects but can cause dizziness, nausea, and headaches in some cases. Even with all such advances in malaria control and prevention, the health ministry urges people to continue using approved malaria prevention techniques like clearing bushes, sleeping under mosquito nets.
In other neighboring countries like Kenya, Malawi, and Ghana, a malaria vaccine has been rolled out to control malaria. The RTS, S vaccine was produced by Path Malaria Vaccine Initiative and GlaxoSmithKline.
It was approved for use in 2015 by World Health Organisation (WHO and one has to take four injections. However, its ability to contain malaria infections is low and as such WHO does not recommend it for use as a vaccine.
Dr. Bayo also says that studies are on-going to establish whether Uganda can use the RTS, S vaccine because initial results do not support its use.
“The initial studies for this vaccine were not good. For the past five years, the results we had did not show the vaccine being effective at least by 75 percent. But these studies are on-going and once we have good results, we shall recommend the use of the vaccine in malaria-prone areas.”