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Ministry of Health doubles malaria refills for community health workers

There is a surge in the number patients suffering from malaria

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Ministry of Health has embarked on strengthening malaria treatment after community health workers raised complaints of people not being able to go to health facilities for tests and treatment following a lockdown on public transport.

Despite a reported surge in malaria cases, many people especially in rural areas cannot move because of the measures taken by the government to avoid community transmission of Coronavirus– COVID-19.

The Malaria Control Programme manager Dr Jimmy Opigo told Uganda Radio Network that they have now authorized Village Health Teams (VHTs) and community health workers to pick double the doses of anti-malarial drugs they have been getting to be able to help those that may need treatment but can’t access health facilities.

The programme to deliver anti-malaria drugs through VHTs was started in 2017 as a way of reducing infection whereby a VHT is supposed to carry out rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) for malaria and then dispense the first line drugs for uncomplicated malaria which is Artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) commonly known as coartem.

Initially, Opigo says they were targeting children below five years who are among the most vulnerable to malaria but soon, he says VHTs started reporting adults to be picking medicines from them and soon they started involving the private sector. He says currently, this is being done in 50 districts.

Now in the lockdown, he says the need has increased and since most of the other prevention programmes have been put on hold, they decided to increase the supplies these individuals pick per month from the closest government facility to them.

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