HEALTH REPORT: Uganda has on Tuesday, April 25 2023 joined the rest of the world to commemorate the World Malaria Day.
The World Malaria Day celebrations are held in Bugiri District where Government of Uganda through the Ministry of Health will relaunch the Mosquito Net Distribution campaign to reduce chances of Ugandans contracting Malaria
World Malaria Day is an occasion to highlight the need for continued investment and sustained political commitment for malaria prevention and control. It was instituted by WHO Member States during the World Health Assembly of 2007.
World Malaria Day 2023 is marked under the theme “Time to deliver zero malaria: invest, innovate, implement”. Within this theme, WHO will focus on the third “i” – implement – and notably the critical importance of reaching marginalized populations with the tools and strategies that are available today.
According to the World Health Organisation, Nearly half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria. In 2021, an estimated 247 million people contracted malaria in 85 countries. That same year, the disease claimed approximately 619 000 lives.
According to the latest World malaria report, published in December 2022, malaria claimed the lives of an estimated 619 000 people in 2021, compared to 625 000 in 2020. There were some 247 million new cases of malaria in 2021 compared to 245 million in 2020.
The WHO African Region continues to shoulder the heaviest burden of the disease – accounting, in 2021, for an estimated 95% of all malaria cases (234 million) and 96% of all deaths (593 000). Nearly 80% of malaria deaths in the African Region were among children under the age of 5.
Malaria disproportionately affects the most marginalized populations in society, including the rural poor, pregnant women, children, migrants, refugees, religious minorities and indigenous people. Children in the poorest households are 5 times more likely to be infected with malaria. Malaria is also more prevalent among young children whose mothers have a lower level of education and live in rural areas. Reaching these populations with malaria prevention, diagnosis and treatment is a critical strategy for achieving global malaria targets and delivering on the promise of “zero malaria.”
In Uganda, malaria accounts for 30-50% of outpatient visits at health facilities. 15-20% of all hospital admissions and up to 20% of all hospital deaths and 27.2% of inpatient deaths among children under five years of age.
According to the Uganda National Institute of Public Health (UNIPH) study, over the past 20 years, the scale-up of Malaria control efforts has led to marked reductions in mortality and morbidity. An estimated 663 million cases were averted by malaria control interventions, nearly 70% of these were attributed to use of long-lasting insecticide treated nets between 2000 and 2015.
According to the Ministry of Health, sleeping under a mosquito net can reduce ones chances of contracting Malaria by 60%.
Malaria is an acute febrile illness caused by Plasmodium parasites, which are spread to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. It is preventable and curable.
What are the symptoms?
The first symptoms of malaria usually begin within 10–15 days after the bite from an infected mosquito. Fever, headache and chills are typically experienced, though these symptoms may be mild and difficult to recognize as malaria. In malaria endemic areas, people who have developed partial immunity may become infected but experience no symptoms (asymptomatic infections).
WHO recommends prompt diagnosis for anyone with suspected malaria. If Plasmodium falciparum malaria is not treated within 24 hours, the infection can progress to severe illness and death. Severe malaria can cause multi-organ failure in adults, while children frequently suffer from severe anaemia, respiratory distress or cerebral malaria. Human malaria caused by other Plasmodium species can cause significant illness and occasionally life-threatening disease.