Saturday June 22 2013

42 per cent Ugandans host malaria parasites

By Agencies

About 42 per cent of Ugandans are host to the malaria parasite, even though they do not show any signs of sickness, experts have said.

Dr Okul Albert Peter, the Malaria Control Programme manager in the Ministry of Health, during the 2009 malaria indicator survey said tests showed that children under five years ranged from five per cent in Kampala to 63 per cent in the Northern region.

He explained that this is because Uganda has a high prevalence to malaria and in order for a person to fall sick, they need to have a high level of parasitamia.

Even though there are many other causes of fever such as flu, pneumonia and meningitis among others, there is need for mass screening, testing and treatment.

Dr Okul added that after treatment, getting rid of malaria would also call for confinement of people in a treated area to avoid re-infections.

Transmission of malaria is high in 95 per cent of the country.
Five per cent of highland areas have low malaria transmission, but in case of occurrence, it develops as an epidemic.

Malaria cases are highest in parts of eastern Uganda such as Tororo, Busia, parts of Mbale and areas at the shores of Lake Kyoga.
The Ministry of Health is now emphasising the use of a multi-pronged approach to fight malaria in Uganda.

Dr Ruth Jane Aceng, the director general Health Services, recommended the use of mosquito nets and indoor residual spraying whose effect has been dramatic especially in northern Uganda.

Minister for Health Ruhakana Rugunda said they are continuing with the distribution of 21 million mosquito nets countrywide. He said they hoped that there will be a 40-60 per cent reduction in infection.

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