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Malaria cases on the rise in Uganda – MOH

Minister of Health, Jane Ruth Aceng. The ministry decries the rampant increase of malaria cases n the county. (PHOTO/File)

KAMPALA – The Ministry of Health has revealed that there has been an increase in the Malaria cases by over 1 million countrywide for the period of June-August 2019.

In a statement dated August 12, the ministry has noted that there has been a 40% increase in the Malaria cases from 1 million cases in June 2018 to 1.4 million cases in June 2019.

“While this is lower than the number of cases registered between 2016-2017, it is important to note that this is the peak Malaria season where an increase in the Malaria cases are registered,” reads an excerpt from the statement.

The MOH has attributed the increase in Malaria cases to many reasons such as seasonality: This period of June- July usually has the most malaria cases following the rainy season, Climate change: Prolonged intermittent rains in various parts of the country that have lasted till to date (August 2019).

In addition, the increase in malaria has been caused by reduced net ownership and use due to the ageing of nets distributed in 2017 mass campaign, low malaria prevalence in areas such as Kampala, and as such people have become lax in prevention practices such as net use, closing doors windows early, early seeking of care and treatment.

“Movement of populations from high burden areas (Busoga, West Nile, Northern Uganda, Karamoja) to low burden areas (Kampala, South Western Uganda) and vice versa for festive season, employment like farming. This was supported by evidence we got from Naguru hospital in July 2019 where 85% of the malaria patients had travel history outside Kampala,” reads the statement in part.

According to the MOH, people in areas with very little malaria such as Kampala (parasite prevalence less than 1%) are prone to severe malaria due to reducing/low immunity.

“It is therefore important that everyone protects themselves whenever they travel upcountry in areas with high malaria burden/transmission,” reads the statement in part.

Interventions put up by MOH to decrease the overall number of Malaria cases.

-Supported districts with increased cases to order and receive emergency supplies (Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy (ACTs) and Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs) to ensure facilities are well stocked.

-Revised the quantification of ACTs for this financial year, 2019/20 to take into account this increase in cases

-Redistribution of Malaria Commodities from facilities and districts with overstocks to those that are facing a stock out of malaria commodities

-Monitoring of malaria cases, admissions and deaths and using data to guide decisions at all levels that has helped identify and contain many outbreaks

-Strengthening the capacity of Village Health Teams (VHTs) at community level through training and providing adequate stock of antimalarial.

-Continue the routine distribution of Long Lasting Insecticide-treated mosquito nets (LLINs) to pregnant women attending Antenatal care and children in immunization clinics

-Fast-tracking the implementation of the 2020 LLIN Mass Campaign

-Introducing new channels of LLIN distribution such as school distribution in selected districts.

-Community outreaches in high burden areas to conduct testing and treatment, communication campaigns to encourage

The Ministry of Health has appealed to the public to sleep under a mosquito net every night to avoid Malaria, always seek early treatment from the nearest Health Facility within 24 hours of onset of symptoms.

“Take and complete your dosage of Malaria medicine as advised by the health worker, clear all mosquito breeding sites (stagnant water, bushes and broken containers) around your homestead, all pregnant women must attend all antenatal care visits, avoid self-medication and sharing of medicine,” the MOH advised.

Malaria is transmitted by female an Anopheles mosquito which normally bites at night when a person is sleeping. An infected mosquito bites a human being and transmits the plasmodium into the blood of the person.

The signs and symptoms of Malaria are; fever, headache, vomiting, Chills (shivering), sweating, Backaches, Body weakness, loss of appetite and diarrhea.

The Ministry of Health has appealed to the public to sleep under a mosquito net every night to avoid Malaria, always seek early treatment from the nearest Health Facility within 24 hours of onset of symptoms.

“Take and complete your dosage of Malaria medicine as advised by the health worker, clear all mosquito breeding sites (stagnant water, bushes and broken containers) around your homestead, all pregnant women must attend all antenatal care visits, avoid self-medication and sharing of medicine,” the MOH advised.

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