Why malaria remains top killer in Adjumani

Rev Sr Alice Atayi administers treatment to a malaria patient at Adjumani hospital at the weekend. PHOTO/MARKO TAIBOT

What you need to know:

Statistics from the district health department indicate that in the last financial year, malaria claimed 64 lives in the area.

Malaria continues to be the leading killer disease in Adjumani District despite several government interventions, statistics indicate.

The statistics from the district health department indicate that in the last financial year, malaria claimed 64 lives, followed by pneumonia (56), Septicaemia (31) and liver cirrhosis (20). Septicaemia is when bacteria enter the bloodstream and cause blood poisoning.

Although the government has put in place several interventions such as indoor residual spraying (IRS) and distribution of mosquito nets, of which the latter is ongoing, health officials say malaria cases in the district are still prevalent.

Mr Henry Lulu, the assistant district health officer, attributes this to the misuse of the mosquito nets, late reporting of cases to health facilities, self-medication as well as poor hygiene and sanitation that offer breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

“We are starting the second phase of the Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) this month. Communities should embrace the exercise because malaria has continued to pose more threats to us,” Mr Lulu said in an interview at the weekend.

Mr Robert Dragule, the district medical vector control officer, revealed that last financial year, they also registered 19 cases of children under the age of five years who died of malaria.

Mr Dragule observed that the positivity rate of malaria in the district stands at 40 percent, adding that several attempts, including the IRS, and entomological surveillance, are being implemented to curb the disease.

He said although they have reduced the number of deaths among children under 5 years from 23 in the previous financial year to 19, and have maintained admissions due to malaria at 38 percent, this is still high.

“We want to reduce it to zero deaths, that is why we are spraying,” Mr Dragule said.

Ms Samia Basiri, a refugee from Baratuku refugee settlement in Adjumani, who was found with her one-year-baby at Adjumani hospital at the weekend, said even after diagnosing her daughter with malaria, she was advised to buy some of the drugs.

“I was told to buy quinine and cannula. I have spent Shs5,000 just for today. Life is not easy for us and I am wondering if I will finish the dose because I do not have enough money even for feeding,” Ms Samia said.

At private hospitals in the district, a person has to spend between Shs80,000 and Shs 150,000 for a complete dose for malaria, which is out of reach for many residents.

The Rev Sr Alice Atayi, a nurse at Adjumani hospital, said:

“Right now with the heavy rains, we are witnessing an increase in cases of malaria. For instance, from July to October, we registered more than 700 admissions for malaria.”

She said some of the cases of death registered last financial year could have been avoided.

“Late referrals and self-medication cases have ended up in deaths. If the community members can desist from self-medication and refer the cases early, some of the lives will be saved,” she added.


The Annual Health Sector Performance Report for Financial Year 2021/2022 indicates that malaria is the leading cause of illness for all ages accounting for 32.1 percent of all reported Out Patient Department (OPD) attendances and 26.2 percent of all admissions.