Government issues fresh warning over rise in malaria cases

Wednesday July 17 2019

Testing. A mother tests her child for Malaria

Testing. A mother tests her child for Malaria at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital last year. PHOTO BY STEPHEN OKELLO 

By LILIAN NAMAGEMBE

The government yesterday warned the pubic to be on high alert for malaria cases by seeking timely medication.
Dr Jimmy Opigo, the programme manager for Malaria Control Programme, blamed the rise on increased rain with weathermen saying this year had the heaviest rain in three years.
“The second reason is, the nets we gave out in 2017 are worn out and lost in most homes with net coverage falling below public health coverage levels,” Dr Opigo told Daily Monitor on Monday.
For example, there was an increase in malaria morbidity in the first week of July with 253,973 compared to 240,806 cases reported the previous week, according to the latest weekly malaria status report issued by Ministry of Health.
The report also indicates that 32 districts reported more than 10 cases per 1,000 population while Adjumani and Moyo districts reported more than 40 cases per 1,000 population.
Dr Opigo also indicated that the biggest malaria problem now is in West Nile Sub-region with the highest cases and deaths per population resulting from refugees, low mosquito net use, poor housing, sleeping in groups, poor care seeking behaviour, and low access to care, among others problems.
“For the north, the IRS [Indoor Residual Spraying] we sprayed in 2017 has lost its cover. Government is hurrying with efforts to distribute new nets starting early 2020,” Dr Opigo added.
In the meantime, he said government has stocked enough medicines and test kits and therefore, concentrating on tests and treatment, Social and Behavior Change Communication (SBCC) and proper management of severe malaria, including referral.
On June 25, Mr Dusman Okee, the Pader Resident District Commissioner (RDC) in northern Uganda, wrote to the Health ministry requesting an emergency intervention on malaria situation in the district.
“I also write as a victim because I treat myself for malaria parasite every week, losing close to three working days per week, which is a cost to service delivery in the district,” Mr Okee said.
The RDC also reported that in all the health centres at all levels, 90 cases per cent patients are malaria-related with 95 per cent testing positive.
Mr Anthony Nuwa, the country technical coordinator at Malaria Consortium, a non-governmental organisation specialising in managing malaria, said there is an upsurge in malaria cases in the country.
“There is no malaria outbreak, it is an upsurge. The issue is about having it managed in a timely manner,” Dr Nuwa said in a telephone interview yesterday.

About Malaria

The The Malaria disease has become a perennial problem despite various government interventions including Indoor Residual Spraying and Mosquito nets distribution.
The World Malaria Report 2018 indicated that Uganda registered an estimated increase of more than 100,000 malaria cases between 2016 and 2017 despite the various preventive interventions against the disease
The report also indicated that the country accounts for 4 per cent of malaria cases in the whole world, making it to the top five.
The findings indicate a backslide given that the latest Uganda Malaria Indicator Survey 2014-15 had indicated that the national malaria prevalence dropped from 42 per cent in 2009 to 19 per cent.

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