BY PAUL NIGHT
On World Malaria Day, which falls on April 25 every year, Uganda joined other nations across the globe to shine a spotlight on its efforts to combat malaria.
Admittedly, there is still a lot to be done if the disease is to be eradicated in the country, especially in areas where the disease is still endemic, such as the Acholi sub-region, the north eastern region, eastern region and some parts of the central region.
Statistics from the Ministry of Health show that malaria is still the leading cause of death in Uganda, accounting for over 27% of deaths.
The statistics also show that Uganda has the world’s highest malaria incidence, with a rate of 478 cases per 1,000 populations per year.
Uganda ranks as 6th among African countries with high malaria-related mortality rates.
A study published last year by the American Journal of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene showed that malaria is still the major cause of death in Uganda with approximately 70,000 to 100,000 Ugandans dying each year from the disease.
A 2013/2014 report by the parliamentary committee of health showed that 50% of deaths caused by malaria in Uganda are among children below five years.
The Acholi sub-region still bears the harshest brunt of the disease, with the prevalence rates soaring every year.
“Despite being preventable, malaria is one of the primary causes of death in Uganda. The 2014 Malaria Indicator Survey may have shown a reduction in the prevalence rate (42%-19%), but the outlook based on reports from hospitals countrywide remains grim.
There are still many women and young children dying at a high rate due to the disease. That in many ways qualifies the assertion that the disease is still a pandemic in the country,” Dr Steven Luboyera of Hospice Africa asserts.
Medical Team International (MTI), non-governmental organization that provides humanitarian assistants to Refugees at Palorinya Refugee Settlement in Moyo district has expressed fears that one week given by Moyo district Health department to distribute out Mosquitoes nets will be inadequate.
Moyo district health department has directed Medical Team international to implement the distribution activities since last Saturday.
Mr Bernard Amaga, the Public Health officer-MTI told Journalists that the organization urging the district authority to increase more days for the activities to run smooth. “The time line for this activity is short and to me practical it is going to be impossible for us to do accurate work. We are doing everything within a week and this is very hard much as we are confident of achieving the result”, Mr Amaga said
He noted that if the district health department and MTI as implementing partner wanted to do something good there is need to go ahead to increase the number of days. ”We have already wasted one week behind since we should have started with the activities of training of the Task force and other stakeholders”, he noted
Mr Stephen Amoko, the district malaria focal person told daily monitor that there is no more days to be added as requested because all the funds are sealed and Human resource plans are within the settlement. “We are not going to increase any days for this activities and it is a national program which is to be carried within the scheduled timeframe. There is no way of saying this moneys are too much to be handled within one week scope”, Mr Amoko said.
Breakdown of the Fund
The Ministry of health has allocated 127 million shillings for distributing Mosquito nets for refugees at Palorinya refugee settlement and out of that fund 24 million shillings allocated for conducting training for the respective stakeholders and 23 million shillings allocated for registration of households and many others.
By Monday over 100 million shillings meant for conducting the mosquito nets distribution has not been released by the ministry of health to Moyo district health department bank account.
According to Ministry of health Palorinya settlement in Moyo district will receive a total of 102,326 mosquito nets.