Health
New test kits to boost malaria treatment
Publish Date: Sep 04, 2014
newvision
  • mail
  • img


By Jeff Andrew Lule

KAMPALA - In a bid to improve the treatment of malaria in Uganda, the government has launched the UNITAID private sector Malaria Rapid Diagnostic Test kits (MRDT).

The three-year pilot project which was launched in Wakiso district is implemented by the Malaria Consortium together with the National Drug Authority, National Malaria Control Programme supported by World Health Organisation and FIND.

The $6.2m (about sh15bn) project will be rolled out to other seven districts in mid-westen region including; Kibaale, Masindi, Kiboga, Kyankwazi, Hoima and Buliisa.

Sarah Opendi, the state minister for Primary Health Care, said the ministry together with other partners, have already trained health workers in public health facilities in the use of MRDT and have introduced the tools in all health facilities.

MRDT tools enable health workers at all levels to diagnose patients with suspected malaria cases in just 15 minutes.

Opendi said the new national policy calls for mandatory testing of all suspected malaria cases before treatment.

“We realized there are many other common diseases which present with signs and symptoms similar to malaria. Treatment without testing leads to wastage of medicines, misuse and increases the risk of creating parasites resistant to the malaria medicines,” she said.

The minister pointed out that mistreatment of potentially life-threatening non-malaria febrile illnesses can also lead to death.

The new technology, she said, is efficient and easy to use.

“Though emphasis was initially in public health facilities, over 50% Ugandans seek medical care and treatment in the private sector, of which many lack laboratory facilities and we think this is going to help,” she added.

Her ministry has set out to continue with public awareness to promote testing before treatment.


Malaria is a leading killer disease


The Malaria Control Programme Manager in the ministry of health, Dr. Alfred Peter Okwir emphasized that wrong drug prescription always leads to complications and sometimes death.

“This must stop. That is why our people get complications and die at times,” he said. He said Uganda records 16 milion cases of malaria annually, and 50,000 related deaths.

Since the introduction of RDTs in public health facilities, and giving out of insecticide-treated mosquito nets, the number of malaria cases and deaths have reduced, he revealed, adding that up to 22 million nets have been given out countrywide, accord

 Dr. W. Alemu, a representative of WHO, noted that Uganda is ranked among the six countries in Africa with the highest burden of malaria, with most cases reported from the public sector, yet 60% of the people seek medication from the private sector.

Alemu said the WHO is committed to supporting the project through giving technical support.

The country director of Malaria Consortium, Dr. Godfrey Magumba, said they have already trained 150 health workers from 150 clinics on the use of the kits.

“We have already contracted two manufactures; Standard, and Premier Medical Diagnostics with whom we have negotiated to reduce the price of the kits below the cost of the anti-malarials. Each kit will cost between sh2000 and sh2500.”

Wakiso district health officer, Dr. Emmanuel Mukisa said since they started using RDTs, stock-outs have reduced at various health facilities.

Patrick Okello, a resident of Kireka B, said MRDT technology will help in giving the right drugs to patients after ascertaining the problem.

Agnes Nafula, a teacher at Lweza Primary School, hopes “for the best” with the new technology.

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Students push for Tobacco Control Bill passing
Students from five universities are petitioning parliament to pass the tobacco control bill, arguing that it has stayed too long on the shelf....
Mulago Hospital improves patients’ diet
Uganda’s national referral health facility Mulago Hospital has made adjustments to the meals it serves its in-patients, with a special diet introduced....
Obama: Ebola crisis
President Barack Obama issues a global call to action to fight the Ebola epidemic, warning the deadly outbreak was "spiraling out of control"....
200 Ugandan patients for sickle cell drug trial
At least 200 patients are to take part in a clinical trial for a more effective drug used to treat sickle cell anaemia....
World lost
The EU urges the international community to make up for "precious time" lost in the response to the deadly Ebola outbreak....
Gov’t needs to ‘wake up’ over health system
The wife of the fallen water ministry director Frank Mugisha Shillingi calls on the government to consider restructuring the Ugandan health system....
Will early retirement solve Uganda’s unemployment problem?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter