Ntungamo, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Ntungamo district has registered an upsurge in malaria cases. Records show that malaria cases in the district increased to 78,574 in 2022 up from 47,088 in 2021 and 44,971 cases in 2020. According to the breakdown, malaria cases in pregnant women increased to 736 in 2022 up from 579 cases in 2021.
Beatrice Chemisto, the Acting Ntungamo District Health Officer says that the escalation of the malaria cases in the last three years is of concern since the district wasn’t among those prone to malaria cases. Chemisto says the disease is relevant in Rushenyi and Ruhaama counties noting that it is mostly in adults.
She says that a community diagnosis done by the Senior Environment Health Officer attributes the increase in change of human behaviors especially the poor use of mosquito nets, noting that most people put their bedding on the floor, which makes it hard for them to tack in the net while others don’t use the nets at all.
She narrates that most cases registered especially at Rubaare Health center IV are of people within the farming corridor that crosses from Rwanda to engage in farming activities and construct makeshift structures, which exposes them to mosquito bites.
Chemisto adds that the endless stock-out of anti-malarial drugs despite having a budget of Shillings 1.4 billion with National Medical Stores to deliver drugs the whole year has hampered their efforts to treat malaria.
Chemisto says that because of the upsurge in malaria cases, health centers are also registering an increase in the number of children who are born with low weight and premature births.
Jacinta Ahasiimire, the Senior Nursing Assistant at Rubaare Health Center IV, says that the health center receives between 2 to 3 pregnant mothers daily and the lack of anti-malarial drugs makes it hard for them.
Doreen Kemigisha Nkuranga, a resident of Kishami village in Ruhaama East sub county says that they have also raised concerns about the increased malaria cases among their children. She adds that her two children have been bedridden for the past two days and are yet to register any improvement.
She narrates that children present severe signs of malaria, ranging from headache, loss of appetite, and vomiting noting that people have not been sensitized on how to use mosquito nets and others have sold them out.