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Uganda halves malaria deaths

By Apollo Mubiru

Added 5th October 2018 03:27 PM

There are no malaria medicine stock outs. We have a one-year anti-malaria drugs stock in all health facilities. We have also cut supply from Global Fund on malaria funding by $10m (about sh38b)

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One of the beneficiaries of the recently distributed mosquito nets

There are no malaria medicine stock outs. We have a one-year anti-malaria drugs stock in all health facilities. We have also cut supply from Global Fund on malaria funding by $10m (about sh38b)

Malaria deaths have reduced by half in the last four years, Dr Jimmy Opigo, manager Malaria Control Programme in the Ministry Health has revealed.

Opigo said, in 2015 6,100 people died of malaria, which reduced to 5,700 in 2016. The death figures further reduced to 5,100 in 2017 and 1,600 in the last nine months of 2018.  This represents a reduction from 15% to 7%. 

“As a result, there are no malaria medicine stock outs. We have a one year anti-malaria drugs stock in all health facilities.  We have also cut supply from Global Fund on malaria funding by $10m (about sh38b),” Opigo explained.

He attributed the reduction in malaria deaths to a number of anti-malaria campaigns such as indoor residual spraying and the distribution of treated mosquito nets among others. However, Malaria remains the number one killer disease in the world.

The 2016, World Malaria Report indicated that the number of Uganda who died of the malaria went up by a total of 179 in a year. The report showed that the country had the biggest share of malaria cases in the region at 18% compared to Tanzania (11%), Rwanda (8%) and Kenya (14%).

By March this year, the Government and partners distributed up to 27 million mosquito nets across the country. One net was given per every two people in a household.

Uganda was last year one of the eight countries on the continent awarded by African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA) for outstanding commitment and innovation in the fight against malaria.

The recognised countries achieved a reduction in malaria incidence of 40% or more from 2010-2015.

Heart disease

State minister for primary health care, Dr Joyce Moriku said, a recent survey established that about 9% of Ugandans have suffered from either a heart attack, chest pain from a heart disease or a stroke. She noted that the proportion was relatively higher among women, especially in the age group of 50-69 years than men.

The minister said cardiovascular disease which includes heart disease and stroke is responsible for 17.3 million premature deaths and this is expected to rise to 23 million by 2030.

In Uganda, Moriku said, every in four adults have high blood pressure, a pre-disposing factor for increased heart diseases.

She called upon Ugandans to make regular health visits to know their blood glucose, blood pressure, blood cholesterol levels and body mass index.

Moriku advised Ugandans to reduce the risk of heart disease through everyday heart-healthy behaviour such as avoiding smoking, less consumption of alcohol, engaging in physical activities and the maintenance of health body weight among others.

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Uganda Heart Institute attains global standards

Moriku said the Uganda Heart Institute has attained the technical capacity to offer complete range of cardiac care services comparable to any centre of excellence in the world.

“This is both for children and adults, comprising of diagnostic, non-invasive care in the intensive care unit, invasive/cardiac catheterisation intervention and open-heart surgery,” the minister said.

She said the institute can comprehensively handle 95% of the adult cases including valve and coronary bypass surgery and 85% of the cases in children, if the necessary operational funds are available.

The institute can ably teach super specialists in the cardiac super specialty, conduct high caliber research to ensure high quality care and generate the necessary data to guide policy.

Mulago still offers treatment for free

Mulago hospital, executive director, Dr Baterana Byarugaba, clarified that the new specialised maternal and neonatal healthcare unit will offer free services to patients upon proper referral procedures.

“Anybody properly referred to Mulago specialised maternal and neonatal healthcare unit without any single penny, will be treated free of charge,” he assured.

He explained that the patient must have gone through health center II, III, IV, district hospital and regional referral hospital in order to be referred to Mulago.

Byarugaba said Mulago will remain a facility for VIPs and common persons.

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