Uganda reports malaria upsurge: 40 percent increase

By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

The Uganda Ministry of Health is reporting an increase in malaria cases in 2019. The cases of malaria have increased by over 400,000 cases when compared with 2018 and 2019 from about 1 million cases in June 2018 to 1.4 million in June 2019 (40% increase).

Image/Robert Herriman

However, it is worth noting that cases are still low compared to 2017 and 2016 in the same period.

With all the efforts of government and my ministry, major gains have been made in the national malaria response over the last decade. Malaria prevalence dropped from 42% in 2009 to 19% in 2014 and now to 9% in 2019; annual malaria deaths dropped by 57% from 30 to 13 deaths/100000 people. Reported malaria deaths dropped from 6100 in 2015 to 5800 in 2016, to 5100 in 2017 and to 3000 in 2018 over 40% drop in one year. A trend of drop of malaria cases have followed the same trend over the years.

The Malaria upsurge has affected half the country with approximately 65 districts involved. The affected regions include: West Nile, Acholi, Lango, Busoga, Bunyoro, Buganda, Karamoja, Teso, Eastern and Western Uganda.

The increase in Malaria cases is attributed to the a number of reasons to include seasonality, climate change, reduced bed net ownership and more.

People in areas with low Malaria such as Kampala and Kigezi region (parasite prevalence less than 1%) are prone to severe malaria due to reduced/low immunity.

Reported increase of Malaria cases in Kampala

Whereas there is a slight increase in Malaria cases in Kampala in the previous months, this is similar to what was registered in the same period last year (for example; for the month of June, there were 27,159 in 2019, 28,086 in 2018 and 36,391 in 2017). However, the number of severe forms of Malaria requiring admission (severe malaria ) has increased by 60% compared to the same period last year ( 920 severe cases in June 2019, total of 570 in 2018 and 540 for 2017)

This is due to the seasonal variations and low immunity of Kampala residents. The total number of malaria deaths in Kampala has remained unchanged at an average of 6 deaths per month despite the increases in severe malaria cases.

The most affected are the people who travel to high burdened areas and their household members.

The health ministry is using the following to mitigate the malaria upsurge such as Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy (ACTs) and Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs).

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