A survey conducted in 2018/2019 by the Regional Health Integration to Enhance Services in Eastern Uganda (RHITES-E) has revealed that malaria is contributing up to 53 per cent in disease-burden in Teso Sub-region despite government’s interventions.
RHITES-E is a non-governmental organisation operating in the districts of Teso with an aim of empowering communities with good health.
The survey was conducted in the 10 districts of Soroti, Kaberamaido, Bukedea, Kumi, Ngora, Serere, Kalaki, Kapelebyong, Amuria and Katakwi.
Malaria prevalence in Teso Sub-region, according to malaria indicator survey, stands at 8 per cent and 9.1 per cent while in Kampala, it is one per cent.
The technical officer in charge of malaria and child survival at USAID RHITES-E, Mr Benjamin Omagor, said malaria is still a big challenge in the sub-region despite government efforts.
“In Amuria alone, seven of every 10 people who turned up for malaria tests reacted positive, putting it at a high prevalence rate compared to other diseases,” Mr Omagor said.
Other diseases captured in the report include Urinal Tract Infections (UTIs) with a prevalence rate of 19 per cent. Diarrhoea stood at 12 per cent, skin infections at 10 per cent, hypertension at four per cent and two per cent for others.
Addressing cultural leaders in Soroti Town last week, Dr Ronald Miria Ocaatre, the principal strategic health communication officer at the Ministry of Health, attributed the prevalence rate to the poor attitude towards the fight against malaria.
“People have developed mythical statements against government strategies in fighting malaria. In Pallisa, some people vandalised their houses that were sprayed to kill mosquitoes alleging that the chemicals would cause negative effects to their lives while other people in different areas refused to sleep under treated mosquito nets,” Dr Ocaatre said.
He said 90 per cent of Ugandans have mosquito nets but only 72 per cent sleep under treated nets.
According to records of Uganda National Malaria Control Programme in 2018, malaria is the cause of the third highest number of deaths.
Every year, Uganda registers more than 100,000 malaria deaths and about 46 million cases are diagnosed with the disease both in public and private health facilities.
To eliminate malaria, government came up with several interventions, including the use of Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS).
IRS is the application of insecticide to the inside of dwellings, on walls and other surfaces that serve as a resting place for mosquitoes.
In 2017, government distributed more than 7.2 million insecticide treated mosquito nets to citizens with intentions of protecting them against malaria.
Government has also been conducting indoor spraying exercises to kill female mosquitoes that are carriers of malaria causing germs.
Symptoms of malaria include fever and flu-like illness, including chills that cause shaking, headache, muscle aches, and tiredness. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea may also occur.