By John Agaba and Violet Nabatanzi
MALARIA tests in the country are substandard; as a result some patients are diagnosed with the disease when in fact they are negative while others are diagnosed negative when in fact they have the disease.
Reports from the health ministry show the quality of malaria testing in the country stands at 55%.
"This causes a challenge in drug prescriptions," explained Dr. Hakim Sendagire, the Central Public Health Laboratory (CPHL) technical advisor.
As a result of some diagnoses gone wrong, Sendagire explained, some patients end up taking wrong prescriptions.
This has far reaching consequences on the health sector. "In case someone has malaria and the test shows they don't have it, then they won't be given the appropriate treatment," said Sendagire.
Sendagire was presenting last year's laboratory performance review report on Tuesday at the health ministry.
Dr. Myers Lugemwa, the head of the malaria control programme at the health ministry, blamed the inaccuracies in malaria diagnosis on the inadequate health personnel, particularly those handling malaria.
“If you walked to any health facility, you will find 25% to 60 % of all the outpatients are complaining of a fever. And the first test to be carried out is a malaria test. But we don’t have enough personnel,” said Lugemwa.
“Then the machines can be faulty, the materials, the reagents used can be faulty,” he added.