What you need to know:
- Health officials said there was an increase by 60 percent from 13,476 cases in June to 21,629 cases in December 2022, despite efforts to curb the disease, including distribution of free mosquito bed nets.
Officials are worried about a sharp rise in malaria cases, especially among children and pregnant women, in Butaleja District.
The district recorded a total of 196,835 cases and 80 deaths among children in 2022.
Health officials said there was an increase by 60 percent from 13,476 cases in June to 21,629 cases in December 2022, despite efforts to curb the disease, including distribution of free mosquito bed nets.
Last week, the District Health Officer, Dr Siraji Kizito, said seven of every 10 patients in the district test positive for malaria.
He also urged caregivers to be more vigilant. “Some people delay to take patients to health facilities. This is one of the main reasons why many sub-counties are losing a child every day.”
Dr Kizito said the most affected sub-counties are Busabi, Budumba, Kachonga and Busolwe.
The District Health Inspector, Mr Henry Isongoli, attributed the increase in malaria cases to lack of awareness, misuse of bed nets, poverty, and negative attitude towards government programmes such as indoor spraying.
“Our mini-survey in the district shows that some residents use the insecticide-treated mosquito nets to erect poultry shelters, or make garden boundaries and ropes to tether livestock,” he said.
The in-charge of the Children’s Ward at Busolwe General Hospital, Ms Sarah Amusugut , blamed parents for taking children to health facilities late.
Mr James Wire, the chairperson Board, Busolwe General Hospital, said:“Our health facilities in the district get patients from the neighbouring districts of Tororo, Budaka, Mbale, Namutumba and Bugiri that consume most of the supplies due a surge in malaria,” he said.
Mr Wire said the number of cases could be much higher because some people do not visit the health facilities. “For instance, in Bunawale in Budumba sub- county at least two households have lost a child. Some households have lost two children since October last year,” he said.
Ms Annet Namudira, an expectant mother and a resident of Namunasa village, Kachonga Sub county, said every child between 1-12 years in her family has fallen sick of malaria in the past three months.“When we go to the health facilities we are told to buy almost all the drugs from private pharmacies and some health officials ask money from the caretakers for blood testing among other things,” she said.
Ms Hadijja Nabwire, a resident of Budumba Sub- County, said her three-year-old daughter succumbed to malaria.
“My daughter started vomiting blood and died on the way after being referred for blood transfusion at Mbale regional referral hospital,”Ms Nabwire said.
Last year in June, Health Minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, in a statement to Parliament, said the country was experiencing a new burden of malaria disease in 71 districts, including Butaleja.
Dr Kizito said Butaleja health officials and political leaders have heeded to this call. They have rolled out the mass sensitisation campaign.
Michael Higenyi Bory, the district cchairperson, said: “We have been experiencing a malaria outbreak in the district for over a year now and we are losing children and our mothers. So we must act now.”
Last week the local leaders organised a walk to disseminate information on malaria prevention and treatment.