Budaka: Malaria indoor residual spraying suspended after operator dies suddenly

A spray operator in the ongoing Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) exercise in Budaka district has collapsed and died.

The deceased has been identified as Kenneth Ndoboli aged 23, a resident of Nulugondo village, Tademeri parish, lyama subcounty Budaka district.

Ndoboli was one of the 28 spray operators recruited and contracted by Vector Link to carry out Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) of households against the female Anopheles mosquito which spreads malaria.

The exercise will last 22 days in 20 sub-counties across the district.

The programme, which started on 2ndMarch 2020, is funded by USAID under Presidential Malaria Initiative and implemented by Vector Link

The same exercise is being conducted in the neigbouring districts of Butaleja, Pallisa, and Kibuku among others.

Dr. Erisa Mulwani, the district health officer, confirmed Ndoboli’s death which he says occurred on Wednesday at about 5pm.

Dr Mulwani says Ndoboli underwent medical fitness examinations before he was recruited and was found to be sound for the job. He says Ndoboli had worked for ten days without any medical complaint.

However, after a day of spraying on Wednesday, Ndoboli collapsed 15 minutes after having lunch with colleagues. Ndoboli was going to retrieve his bicycle to ride home when he collapsed. He was rushed to a nearby health facility, put on drip but died shortly after.

His body has been taken to Mbale regional hospital for post mortem to ascertain the cause of death.

Dr Mulwani rules out the possibility of death being brought on by the work because, “We would have recorded more than one case if there was something wrong with the chemicals. we have over 400 spray operators in the districts. Why only this isolated case?”

However, a crisis meeting at the chairman’s office resolved to suspend the exercise in the sub-county until further notice.

Sam Mulomi, the district chairperson, says the decision to suspend the exercise is a precautionary move.

He laments the demise of Ndoboli who he describes as a hard working young man who was trying to earn a living for his family.

He says the district wants to learn the cause of his death before an official communication can be made.

During the same crisis meeting, the head of the IRS team informed them that they had agreed to foot the burial expenses of the deceased.

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