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West Nile battling surge in malaria prevalence

Nebbi, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Several districts in the West Nile sub-region are recording an upsurge of malaria cases. Records indicate that the sub-region has 23 percent malaria prevalence which is nearly three times the national prevalence which currently stands at 9-percent.

The districts of Madi Okollo, Maracha, Nebbi, Obongi, Pakwach, Terego, Yumbe and Zombo are among those reporting an upsurge of malaria cases with the majority of the cases being reported among children below five years.

While delivering a report on the malaria burden at a regional stakeholder meeting held on Tuesday in Arua city, Dr. Alex Andema, the director of Arua Regional Referral hospital said that malaria has remained a major killer disease in the sub-region and the leading cause of morbidity, especially for children below five years and pregnant mothers.

He said over the past few months, a number of districts are recording a surge in malaria cases which he has blamed on the current weather and stock-outs of malarial drugs in the affected districts.

The current upsurge in malaria cases comes just a few months after the Ministry of Health (MOH) signed a new $40 million grant to popularize malaria prevention strategies in communities where prevalence is still very high.

The project dubbed ‘PMI Uganda Malaria Reduction Activity’ is being funded by the US government through USAID and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) seeks to reduce malaria infections by 50 percent and malaria-related deaths by 75 percent in regions with highest malaria burden in the next five years.

Dr. Jimmy Opigo, the Program Manager, National Malaria Control Programme in the Ministry of Health, says West Nile has been selected due to the fact that it shoulders the second highest malaria burden in the country after Karamoja sub-region.

But Ben Anyama, the LC5 chairperson Adjumani district says there is urgent need for an inclusive approach towards malaria prevention in the sub-region if any tangible results are to be realised.

According to the Ministry of Health-MOH statistics, fourteen people are still succumbing to malaria every day in the country.

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