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Ministry of Health launches National Malaria Program to fight Malaria in Uganda

Uganda has the sixth highest number of annual deaths from malaria in Africa, as well as some of the highest reported malaria transmission rates in the world, with approximately 16 million cases reported in 2013 and over 10,500 deaths annually. In addition, malaria has an indirect impact on the economy and development in general. The socio-economic impact of malaria includes out-of-pocket expenditure for consultation fees, drugs, transport and subsistence at a distant health facility. These costs are estimated to be between USD 0.41 and USD 3.88 per person per month (equivalent to USD 1.88 and USD 26 per household). Household expenditure for malaria treatment is also a high burden to the Ugandan population, consuming a larger proportion of the incomes in the poorest households.

Malaria has a significant negative impact on the economy of Uganda due to loss of workdays because of sickness, decreased productivity, and decreased school attendance. A single episode of malaria costs a family on average 9 US dollars, or 3% of their annual income. Workers suffering from malaria may be unable to work for an estimated 5-20 days per episode. Given that many people are infected multiple times a year, this has substantial financial consequences to families. A poor family in a malaria endemic area may spend up to 25% of the household income on malaria prevention and treatment. Industries and agriculture also suffer due to loss of person-hours and decreased worker productivity. Investors are generally wary of investing in countries where malaria rates are high, leading to a loss in investment opportunities. Further, severe malaria impairs children’s learning and cognitive ability by as much as 60%, consequently affecting the performance of Uganda’s universal primary and secondary education programs.

Approximately 45 districts in Uganda are facing a Malaria upsurge. The good news is Malaria is preventable. You and I both have a role to play in preventing Malaria.In 2017, there were an estimated 219 million cases of malaria in 87 countries. The estimated number of malaria deaths stood at 435 000 in 2017. The WHO African Region carries a disproportionately high share of the global malaria burden. In 2017, the region was home to 92% of malaria cases and 93% of malaria deaths.The ministry of Health has embarked on fighting malaria in Uganda since its another leading cause of death in Ugandans. Overview of Malaria in Uganda (2014 – 2020), a significant percentage of deaths occur at home and are not reported by the facility-based Health Management Information System (HMIS). Malaria is endemic in approximately 95% of the country, affecting over 90% of the population of 3 million.It is commonly stated that 70,000–100,000 children under five years die of malaria annually in Uganda (Uganda Bureau of Statistics, 2010; Uganda Ministry of Health, 2005).

The ministry has initiated a Nation Malaria Program, which includes the following objectives;

  1. By 2020, Reduce annual Malaria deaths from the 2013 levels to near zero (Near zero implies less than 1 death per 100,000 population)
  2. By 2020, Reduce malaria morbidity to 30 cases per 1000 population (That is 80% reduction from the 2013 levels of 150 confirmed malaria cases per 1000 population)
  3. By 2020, reduce the malaria parasite prevalence to less than 7% (Over 85% reduction in malaria parasite prevalence from a baseline of 45% in 2010)

These were the objectives that the Ministry has achieved

  1. By 2017, achieve and sustain protection of at least 85% of the population at risk through recommended malaria prevention measures
  2. By 2018, achieve and sustain at least 90% of malaria cases in the public and private sectors and community level receive prompt treatment according to national guidelines
  3. By 2017, at least 85% of the population practices correct malaria prevention and management measures
  4. By 2016, the program is able to manage and coordinate multi-sectoral malaria reduction efforts at all levels
  5. By 2017, all health facilities and District Health Offices report routinely and timely on malaria programme performance;
  6. By 2017, all malaria epidemic prone districts have the capacity for epidemic preparedness and response.

The Program is charged with providing quality assured services for Malaria prevention and treatment to all people in Uganda. The program guides Malaria control efforts as outlined in the Malaria Reduction Strategic Plan 2014 – 2020 (UMRSP).

The Uganda Malaria Reduction Strategic Plan (UMRSP) provides a common framework for all stakeholders to accelerate nationwide scale up of evidenced‐led malaria reduction interventions by the government, development partners, the private sector and all stakeholders. It stipulates the priority interventions, the strategic re-orientations and the investments required for achieving the goals and targets.

The overall goal of the plan is to reduce mortality due to malaria by 80% of the 2010 levels and reduce morbidity due to malaria by 75% of the 2010 levels, thereby setting the ground for pre-elimination subsequently. This is in line with the regional strategy for malaria elimination endorsed by the Government of Uganda (GoU).

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  1. This is an improvement in the health sector. We welcome the move.

  2. Mosquito nets should be distributed at the village levels and supervision should be of as some of them are not given thus sold.

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