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Malaria cases surge in Luweero as residents abandon mosquito nets

Luweero, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | A sizeable number of the population in Luweero district have abandoned the use of insecticide treated mosquito nets, exposing themselves to more malaria infections.

Luweero District Health Educator Henry Namakola explains that a study conducted in Kikyusa and Kamira sub counties found that some residents were complacent and found no need for sleeping under a mosquito net. Others, mainly farmers, were using the nets as scarecrows in their gardens while a few others cited personal reasons for discarding the nets.

He added that in some homes where nets were used, children were not prioritized, yet together with expectant mothers, they are listed among the most vulnerable groups. The discussion came up after the district released its annual health report indicating that malaria killed at least 40 people in Luweero district during the financial year 2019/20.

The fatalities represented 11 percent of the total deaths registered across the district during the year. Altogether, 221,910 people were diagnosed with malaria, most of them in the areas of Kamira, Makulubita, Kikyusa and Butuntumula among others.

Namakola says that as the government embarks on the fresh distribution of mosquito nets, it needs to create fresh awareness about their use and importance. He also called upon the government to equip Village Health Teams to conduct test and treat as covered under the integrated community case management system so as to minimize deaths.

Luweero District Health Secretary Joseph Serugo says that some of the people who contracted the disease opted for self-medication and instead complicated the illness.

Samuel Mukiibi, a resident of Luweero town says that although there are issues with protection against malaria in homes, the management and treatment from the medical facilities is equally wanting because many of them have repeatedly registered drug stock out’s during the year.

Luweero registered drug stock outs during the COVID-19 lockdown after the National Medical Stores delayed the delivery of drugs.

Other diseases that recorded high rates include cough and pneumonia with 113,798 cases followed by skin diseases with 14,045, urinary tract infections with 27,037 and acute diarrhea which registered 10,656 cases in the financial year. The district had 375 deaths altogether.

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