According to the 2019 World Health Organisation (WHO) World Malaria Report, the upsurge affected about half the country with approximately 65 districts involved including Hoima, Masindi, Kiryandongo and Buliisa. Others are Kikuube, Kagadi, Kibaale and Kakumiro.
Other affected regions included: West Nile, Acholi, Lango, Busoga, Buganda, Karamoja, Teso, Eastern and Western Uganda.
The report adds that malaria remains a leading cause of illness and death in Uganda with most of the country’s 43 million people being at risk.
The world health body says that the disease accounts for between a third and half of all outpatient consultations with each malaria episode costing a family on average 9 US dollars (approximately Shs33, 300).
Even though Uganda had the 2nd largest reduction in malaria cases (1.5 million) between 2017 and 2018, Uganda is still the 3rd highest contributor of malaria cases and the 7th highest contributor of malaria deaths according to 2019 WHO’s World Malaria Report.
Also, malaria has a significant negative impact on the economy of Uganda due to decreased productivity, lower school attendance and performance, and reduced foreign investments.
“In recent years, malaria prevalence, incidence and mortality have all declined steeply. However, this fell short of the targets from the Uganda Malaria Reduction Strategic Plan 2014-2020. Despite efforts, the Uganda Ministry of Health reported an increase in malaria cases from about 1 million cases in June 2018 to 1.4 million in June 2019,” the report indicates.
Findings from the study
In the outpatient group (OPD), the parasite positivity rate was 13.3% for HS-RDTs more than double that of 6.4% with cRDTs on the same patients. A large percentage of these was from school-age children and adolescents (5-17 years).
In the antenatal care group (ANC), 11% (384/3490) of the pregnant women were positive with malaria parasites despite existing prophylactic measures provided during pregnancy (intermittent preventive treatment and insecticide-treated bed nets). HS-RDTs again detected most of these positive cases (10.4%), much more than cRDTs (7.0%).
In the community setting, 79.7% (2,397/3,009) of children under-five years tested positive with malaria parasites. These 2,397 children led to the testing of 8,888 asymptomatic people in their households with HS-RDTs. From these family members, 21.1% (1,877) were positive.