Uganda: 300 March Against Malaria

Staff Writers | 05 Nov 2007
New Vision

THE Congress of Racial Equality Uganda (CORE-Uganda) and the Kill Malarial Mosquitoes Now! Brigade recently marched for 10 days from Kampala to Gulu. A total of 300 marchers including university students and volunteers from Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF), walked 300 miles to save 320 malaria deaths a day.

The malaria awareness march was flagged off by the state minister of micro-finance, Gen. Salim Saleh at the Ministry of Health headquarters in Wandegeya.

CORE International director Cyril Boynes, took part in the historic march dubbed "Journey for Life Africa". He narrated the events of each day.

Day 1

Led by Uganda Prisons band, the marchers reached Kakiri in Wakiso district and rested at the SOS Children's Centre, 48 kms from Kampala. It was at this point that the UPDF joined the group.

Day 2

The marchers were ready by 7:00am. The day ended at Busunju. Reality set in as the marchers faced the challenges of accommodation and food. The town did not have a lodge big enough to for all of them. They put up in a field. For the rest of the journey, they would have to be divided into smaller groups.

Day 3

Weariness set in. They had calculated to walk three miles per hour for a total of 10 hours a day, but lead marchers were moving at about four miles per hour. They arrived at Kiboga town at dusk. While some conducted the rally in Kiboga, others were charged with finding accommodation and food. It was here that they started preparing their own meals.

Day 4

They set out for Hoima at about 9.00am. In Hoima, their objective was to sensitise the people of Bunyoro about the number one killer disease, malaria.

They met the katikiro, who welcomed them to the Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom at the Orukurato. In his speech, the Katikiro called the marchers patriots, comparing them to the 27 Ugandans who went to the bush to fight a guerilla war.

Day 5

They left Hoima at about 11:00am. Marchers were pushed to the limit through the rain. The objective was to get to Masindi before nightfall. After finding accommodation and food, they had a quiet night at Alinda Guest House in town. The women slept in rooms and the men in a hall using sleeping bags and mats.

Day 6

After breakfast, they left for Kigumba where they slept at the Catholic Parish. They enjoyed their first hot shower. Those who slept at Kigumba Cooperative College joined the group at the church. They headed for Bweyale where they slept, eagerly waiting to hit Karuma the following evening.

Day 7 and 8

Marchers arrived at Karuma at about 6.00pm. It was a maiden opportunity for many to see the falls. Tired with sore feet, fatigue and sicknesses, they decided to stay in Karuma for another day.

Day 9

From Karuma, fully armed UPDF soldiers guarded them through a 'dangerous zone'. The next destination was Minakulu, 30kms from Gulu. They passed through Camden and Amway reaching Minakulu at night. After settling in Minakulu for a short time, they planned to move through Bobi, the IDP camp and stop in Palenga, where they would spend the night.

Day 10

Just 15km from their final destination, everyone was excited. However, they rain pelted them and many fell out before the finish. They stopped for water about 5km outside Gulu town.

After regrouping, they moved at a brisk pace through Koru Alibi reaching Layibi. A band led them to Kaunda Grounds. They were welcomed by throngs of people led by the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, Prof. Ogenga Latigo.