Monday, December 10, 2012

Mosquito Control District From Utah Sponsors Malaria Prevention in Uganda!


by Gary Hatch

 I am the director of a mosquito control district in Utah.  We have had an education program in the elementary schools in our county for many years.  Currently about 5,000 elementary students go through our program each year. Katie Albornoz was a seasonal employee for our district and also studying  Public Health at the University of Utah.  For her internship she wanted to work with the district to enhance our education program and do something that would have an impact on malaria.   She started Students Against Malaria (S.A.M.).  We started teaching in the high school and middle school science classes about mosquitoes and other insects that spread disease and discussed malaria at length in the lesson.  
 
Katie had volunteers from each school that raised money for one week in February, 2012 to buy bed nets.  All funds raised by the students went toward the bed net purchase.  She obtained corporate sponsors to cover the cost of operation and to send two people to Uganda.  Katie and a science teacher, Reece Gurney, from the school that raised the most money were to go.  Because Katie gave birth to a son just a couple of weeks before we were to travel,  I was able to make the trip in her place.

We felt it was important for us to see firsthand the great work of the Uganda Village Project (UVP) and also see the issues that they face.  The UVP staff was wonderful to work with and very accommodating.  They took us into a number of villages and taught us the many aspects of the programs that they are trying to implement.  We were able to make a tippy tap, visit a recovering fistula patient, see the sanitation work being implemented and talk to villagers about the shallow well that UVP helped build.

The bed net program was our greatest interest and we were able to see how the program is administered and participate with them as nets were distributed in a few villages.  We went with a few of the VHT’s to do inspections on homes to make sure the nets are being used and used properly.

Uganda is a beautiful country with wonderful people.  Our visit there was a life changing experience and gave us greater resolve to continue to work with UVP and grow S.A.M.  It truly helped us understand the great work being done by UVP and showed us that we can make a difference in the lives of individuals. We are currently looking for another intern for this next year and are trying to add more schools to the program.  We look forward to our continued relationship with the Uganda Village Project.

1 comment:

Maurise Gelman said...

I commend you for your heroic act, Gary. These prehistoric vampires, or the so-called mosquitoes, are really getting the best out of everyone. Remember the West Nile Virus outbreak in Texas? That’s one of the most horrible events in history, and I hope it will never repeat again. >.<

- Maurise Gelman