Uganda’s Ministry of Health has confirmed that there is an upsurge in malaria cases in the country, reporting a 40 percent increase between June 2018 and June 2019.
Health Minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng told journalists in Kampala that the cases of malaria have increased by over 400 000 when compared with 2018 and 2019; from about one million in June 2018 to 1.4 million in June 2019, signifying a 40 percent increase.
She, however, noted that the cases are still low, compared to 2017 and 2016 in the same period.
The minister attributed the surge to the rainy season that the country is currently experiencing where cases of malaria are gradually increasing from the baseline seasonal peak usually witnessed following a rainy season.
The malaria upsurge has affected half the country with approximately 65 districts involved.
Dr Aceng also noted a laxity in the population’s prevention practices such as sleeping under a mosquito bed net, closing doors and windows early, early seeking of care and treatment.
In order to mitigate this upsurge, the Ministry of Health has put in place several interventions among them redistribution of malaria materials from facilities and districts with overstocks to those with inadequate stock of medicines.
The minister says that they are also strengthening the management of malaria by village health teams at community level through training and providing adequate stock as well as continue the routine distribution of insecticide treated nets to pregnant women in antenatal care clinics and to Children in immunization clinic
Malaria is transmitted by female Anopheles mosquitoes which normally bites at night.
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 diarrhoea.
Statistics from Uganda’s National Malaria Control Program indicate that the country has the sixth highest number of annual deaths from malaria in Africa, as well as some of the highest reported transmission rates in the world, with over 10 500 deaths annually.
The statistics further show that clinically diagnosed malaria is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality, accounting for 30 to 50 percent of outpatient visits at health facilities, 15 to 20 percent of all hospital admissions, and up to 20 percent of all hospital deaths in Uganda.