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Malaria Claims 70,000 Ugandan's Annually
©The Monitor
April 25, 2001
Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda

The minister of Health, Dr. Chrispus Kiyonga, has told Parliament that malaria kills as many as 70,000 Ugandans, including children, every year.

Kiyonga said in a ministerial statement yesterday that about 35,000 children under five years die every year and that the poor households are estimated to spend 10% of their incomes on treating the disease.

Malaria makes a very high contribution to the burden of disease in the country, said Kiyonga, who announced that the African Malaria Day would be marked in Bushenyi district today.

He said 95% of the country experiences malaria attacks all year around and that the disease accounts for between 24% and 40% of outpatient attendance at health units. He said between 9% and 14% of deaths in health units are due to malaria. Kiyonga said Uganda experiences frequent malaria epidemics mainly in the districts of Bundibugyo, Bushenyi, Kabale, Kabarole, Kasese, Kisoro, Mbarara, Ntungamo, Rukungiri and Rakai.

He said that on average, every Ugandan gets six bouts of malaria lasting for about four to nine days. He added that between 33% and 54% of absenteeism either at work or at school is attributed to malaria.

Kiyonga said 1.3% GDP loss is estimated to be caused by malaria. He admitted that the cost of malaria treatment in the country is very high, but promised that the government budget would provide more money for this purpose. The donor community is also providing assistance both technical and financial, Kiyonga said.

He also outlined other measures government will take to combat the disease, which include spraying, distribution of mosquito nets, availing anti malarials and spreading referral hospitals.

Raphael Baku (West Moyo) asked Kiyonga whether he was aware that workers in Moyo district, including health workers, had gone on strike due to non payment. The minister of Internal Affairs, Brig. Moses Ali, informed the House that something was being done about the situation in Moyo, and that he had met officials of ministry of Finance to that effect.

Former presidential candidate Aggrey Awori, whom colleagues welcomed with foot stamping to make maiden contribution on the floor of the House since the end of the electoral process, asked Kiyonga to tell the House how much money the government spends on war and health.

Copyright © 2001 The Monitor. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).

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Malaria Steals 108m Hours From Pupils
©The Monitor
April 25, 2001

Today is Africa Malaria Day. The theme of the year is "Roll Back Malaria, Roll in Development." Because the theme has a fancy sound to it, no one should make a mistake about how deadly malaria is.

Economists John Luke Gallup and Jeffrey Sachs, for example, estimate that per capita economic growth in countries with severe malaria is more than half a full percentage point lower than in nations where this illness is not prevalent, and that a 10 percent reduction in the incidence of malaria is associated with 0.3 percent higher growth.

In Uganda, malaria remains the leading killer. Some estimates report that most Ugandan pupils get attacked by malaria twice a term, and therefore lose up to six school days in that period to the illness. The loss becomes clearer if we consider that there are 6.8 million children in primary school alone. Assume six million of these get attacked by malaria, then it means in this sector alone 36,000,000 schooling hours are lost to the disease every term, and 108 million every year! The man-hours lost at work are of proportional magnitude. Recently it was reported that malaria has cost developing countries $100 billion in lost development over the last 30 years.

The advances that had been made against malaria in Africa in the 1960s to early 1980s have been lost, and it's ravaging the continent with a vengeance. While spraying, reducing breeding grounds, soaking mosquito nets with repellent and so on can cut down the incidence of malaria, this will only be marginal. There is a growing consensus that a vaccine needs to be found urgently.

However, because the countries where malaria abounds are poor, big companies know that they will not recover their investment by investing in vaccines for that market. Companies in rich countries spend more money on research and development (R&D trying to find a cure to erectile dysfunction (i.e. on medicines like Viagra) and reversing baldness, than the third world invests in finding malaria vaccine.

Just how bad is the situation? When the world's second richest man, Microsoft's Bill Gates donated some "little change" of $50m (Shs 90bn) to help study the disease, it increased the worldwide budget malaria research budget by 50 percent.

The reality is that malaria is "our" disease, and Africa and the rest of the Third World must put their money where their mouths are and spend on finding a vaccine. The clock is ticking dangerously.

Today is Africa Malaria Day. The theme of the year is "Roll Back Malaria, Roll in Development." Because the theme has a fancy sound to it, no one should make a mistake about how deadly malaria is.

Economists John Luke Gallup and Jeffrey Sachs, for example, estimate that per capita economic growth in countries with severe malaria is more than half a full percentage point lower than in nations where this illness is not prevalent, and that a 10 percent reduction in the incidence of malaria is associated with 0.3 percent higher growth.

In Uganda, malaria remains the leading killer. Some estimates report that most Ugandan pupils get attacked by malaria twice a term, and therefore lose up to six school days in that period to the illness. The loss becomes clearer if we consider that there are 6.8 million children in primary school alone. Assume six million of these get attacked by malaria, then it means in this sector alone 36,000,000 schooling hours are lost to the disease every term, and 108 million every year! The man-hours lost at work are of proportional magnitude. Recently it was reported that malaria has cost developing countries $100 billion in lost development over the last 30 years.

The advances that had been made against malaria in Africa in the 1960s to early 1980s have been lost, and it's ravaging the continent with a vengeance. While spraying, reducing breeding grounds, soaking mosquito nets with repellent and so on can cut down the incidence of malaria, this will only be marginal. There is a growing consensus that a vaccine needs to be found urgently.

However, because the countries where malaria abounds are poor, big companies know that they will not recover their investment by investing in vaccines for that market. Companies in rich countries spend more money on research and development (R&D trying to find a cure to erectile dysfunction (i.e. on medicines like Viagra) and reversing baldness, than the third world invests in finding malaria vaccine.

Just how bad is the situation? When the world's second richest man, Microsoft's Bill Gates donated some "little change" of $50m (Shs 90bn) to help study the disease, it increased the worldwide budget malaria research budget by 50 percent.

The reality is that malaria is "our" disease, and Africa and the rest of the Third World must put their money where their mouths are and spend on finding a vaccine. The clock is ticking dangerously.

Copyright © 2001 The Monitor. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).

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Handle Malaria Like Ebola
©New Vision, Kampala
EDITORIAL
November 5, 2001

The number of malaria cases in government health centres countrywide increased by 13% from 2,923,620 in 1999 to 3,311,088 in 2000. Since 1995 the number of malaria cases has been increasing every year.

It is no longer easy to cure malaria. The parasite is increasingly becoming resistant to drugs. Chloroquin, which has traditionally been the first choice drug, is no longer able to cure 35% of the malaria cases in Uganda. Today 10% of the malaria patients who take only fansider will not be cured.

As a result a malaria patient remains sick for a longer period. They work less and spend more money on treatment. This certainly increases poverty and slows economic growth.

The time to act is now, and swiftly. It is not proper to wait for a malaria epidemic to occur in one place, then make a hasty, local intervention. We need a concerted national response since malaria occurs in all parts of Uganda.

When ebola broke out in October 2000, the Ministry of Health involved various government sectors and development partners in mobilising the communities. By the end of January 2001, ebola was no more. It was a similar multi-sectoral and aggressive approach that led to the decline in HIV infection rates, for which Uganda is now acclaimed worldwide. A similar approach should be applied to malaria, which still remains the number one killer in Uganda.

The cause, method of spread, treatment and preventive measures are known. Many countries in Europe have used this knowledge to eradicate malaria.

It would be bad management to let the malaria situation in Uganda get any worse.

Copyright © 2001 New Vision. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).

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Kampala Hit By Malaria Epidemic
©New Vision, Kampala
December 5, 2001

The Ministry of Health has warned that Uganda has been hit by an unprecedented wave of malaria epidemic.

It also announced the launch of a new combined Uganda-World Health Organisation (WHO) strategy to combat the scourge.

Worried health ministers, Jim Muhwezi, Mike Mukula, Beatrice Wabudeya, the Commissioner Community Services, Dr Sam Okware, and other officials said yesterday that malaria, which has wiped out at least one million Africans, has killed between 70,000 to 110,000 people in Uganda. They said 60% of the victims are children aged between one and five years.

"There is a very serious upsurge of malaria in Uganda and other parts of Africa due to the rainy season. There is a lot of transmission and circulation of the disease in the population. Malaria is a real danger to our country," Muhwezi told journalists at the ministry's headquarters in Kampala. They said at least 10 districts in southwestern Uganda and one in eastern Uganda had been "hit hardest by the epidemic."

Copyright © 2001 New Vision. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).

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Free Malaria Drugs Out This Year - Gov't
©The Monitor, Kampala
by Carolyne Nakazibwe
January 11, 2002

The Ministry of Health has disclosed plans to start distributing free drug packs for the home care programme in twenty districts by the end of the year.

The head of the Malaria Control Programme at the ministry, Dr Peter Langi, yesterday said every child below five years is entitled to a combination of six fansidar and 18 chloroquin tablets per year, to battle at least six bouts of malaria.

Dr Langi was speaking after the opening of a two-week workshop on anti-malarial drug resistance network at Med Biotech Laboratories in Muyenga.

The workshop, which has attracted ten researchers from Uganda, Tanzania, Mali, Ghana and Nigeria, seeks to develop techniques of establishing the level of patients' resistance to particular drugs and how to improve management of malaria cases.

Millions of Africans die annually from malaria, a problem worsened by increased resistance of malaria parasites to antimalarial drugs.

"Malaria is the number one killer of African children, claiming one child every twenty seconds and reducing economic productivity by making adults very ill," the Director of Med Biotech Laboratories Dr. Thomas Egwang, said.

World Health Organisation country representative in Uganda Dr. Walker Oladapo hailed the organisers for deciding to have African experts as facilitators of the workshop.

Copyright © 2001 The Monitor. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).

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Malaria Soon to Be Wiped Out
©New Vision, Kampala
Anne Mugisha
New Vision (Kampala)
February 5, 2002

UGANDA may see the last of the malaria menace soon, thanks to a 30-year genetic engineering programme on the vector, the mosquito.

Tests on the genetically engineered mosquitos will begin soon on one of the islands on Lake Victoria.

The engineered mosquitos would not transmit the malaria parasite even if the vectors have ingested it, according to the head of the Mosquito Research Programme, Dr. Louis G. Mukwaya.

He said that after successful tests, the engineered mosquitos will be introduced into the other population of mosquitos and through reproduction, they would transmit the genes of those which are not susceptible. He said after a number of generations the lethal mosquito types will be wiped out.

Mukwaya told the East African Assembly legislators yesterday that he and his team have been engineering the mosquitos for the last 30 years.

The legislators led by the East African Speaker, Abdulrahman Kinana were touring the Virus Research Institute.

Mukwaya said his team was ready for the tests, which will save millions of people who suffer from the deadly malaria.

"The mosquitos can ingest the malaria parasites if they bite someone suffering from the disease, but they cannot transmit them," Mukwaya said.

"We want to start trial tests on one of the islands on Lake Victoria. If they succeed, there is hope of eradicating malaria," he said.

The legislators were also told that African states have put together a research team to find an HIV/AIDS vaccine and arrest the spread of infection on the continent.

The head of the Virus Research Centre, Dr. S.D.K. Sempala, said the research programme, which has already started, will be officially launched in June in South Africa.

He said the programme brings together African scientists to look for an AIDS vaccine instead of just relying on the western scientists.

The centre is currently carrying out research on a number of aspects of HIV/AIDS including discordance in sexual partners and the co-factors spurring an HIV positive person to progress to AIDS.

Copyright © 2001 New Vision. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).

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Aid agency urges use of Chinese malaria drug
©Reuters
By James Macharia

NAIROBI, Feb 13, 2002 (Reuters) - Aid agency Medecins sans Frontieres urged east African countries on Wednesday to abandon ineffective anti-malarial drugs in favour of a Chinese plant extract they say could save thousands of lives.

Mosquitoes that transmit the disease that kills between 1.3 and 1.8 million African children a year have developed an increasing resistance to drugs used by most governments in the region, an MSF expert said.

"The cost of switching to effective combinations rather than combinations which are often no better than placebos, is affordable if international donors are willing to help," Jean-Marie Kindermans, an MSF doctor who specialises in malaria drugs, told a news conference.

Kenyan health authorities say they prefer to use the Chinese drug as a last resort, saying it is too costly and so powerful that it amounts to using a hammer to kill a mosquito.

Malaria is one of Africa's biggest killers, with the continent accounting for ninety percent of nearly 500 million cases a year of malaria in more than 90 countries worldwide.

Increasing parasite resistance has rendered common anti-malarial drugs virtually ineffective in parts of east Africa, MSF said.

In contrast, the drugs based on a Chinese plant extract known as artemisinin has no reported resistance, MSF said.

Kindermans said present drug combinations cost $0.25 per adult dose, while more effective combinations derived from the Chinese plants cost around $1.30.

MSF says for Burundi, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda combined, the additional cost to implement the more effective combinations would amount to $19 million a year.

"For the external aid system, this increase is not out of reach...to make a significant difference for the children in Africa," Kindermans said.

Kenya's health ministry said the Chinese treatment was too expensive to be used as a first-line drug.

Julius Meme, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Public Health told Reuters: "The Chinese drug... we know it is efficacious but we cannot use it for first-line treatment because if a resistance develops to it, where then will you go? It is reserved for future use."

Copyright © 10:59 02-13-02Reuters Limited. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).

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Malaria Causes an Uproar
©New Vision, Kampala
February 18, 2002

Malaria is again causing an uproar. At least 5,835 people in Ntungamo district suffered from malaria during the week ending. Masaka districts reported 4,722 cases, Kabale 4,489 and Tororo 4,487. Other districts reporting a high prevalence of malaria were Rakai with 4,449 cases, Wakiso with 4,186 and Mbale with 4,018.

In Bundibugyo district cholera appeared to be getting worse. The number of cases rose to 66 this week, from 31 during the previous week. The most affected sub-counties were Kasitu, Bubukwanga, and Bundibugyo town council .

Hoima registered a ten-fold reduction in the number of cholera cases to five, from the 53 reported during the previous week. All the cases were from Kyangwali sub-county.

The good news is that most districts reported a decline in the number of dysentery cases. For instance the number of people suffering from dysentery in Gulu reduced to 75 from 86 in the previous week. In Moyo, the number reduced from 55 to 45 over the same period. Kaberamaido and Kitgum also reported varying degrees of decline. But Tororo, Moroto and Mbale instead reported an increase.

Measles on the other hand continued to increase in several districts. Masaka district reported 61 cases, Jinja 30 cases and Mbale 25. Others were Tororo (21), Wakiso (20), Kisoro (20) and Rakai (18).

In Masindi district where meningitis had broken out the previous week, immunisation was carried out and it apparently brought the outbreak under control. Fourteen other districts reported a total of seven deaths and 24 cases as a result of suspected meningitis.

Disease Surveillance

Kaberamaido and Kitgum also reported varying degrees of decline. But Tororo, Moroto and Mbale instead reported an increase.

Copyright © 2001 New Vision. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).

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Global warming not linked to increase in malaria
©Reuters

LONDON, Feb 20,2002 (Reuters) - It's been blamed for rising temperatures, unusual weather patterns and flooding but British scientists said on Wednesday there is no link between climate change and an increase in malaria in Africa.

Cases of malaria in parts of Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi have soared since the mid 1980s as the average temperature increased by 0.6 degrees centigrade this century, fuelling speculation of a link.

But Simon Hay, of Oxford University, said the rise in the mosquito-borne disease in the past two decades in East Africa is more likely due to drug resistance and population growth than global warming.

"We have shown that at four sites in the highlands of East Africa there has been very little change in any meteorological variable during the past century or during the period of reported malaria resurgence," Hay said in a report in the science journal Nature.

He and his colleagues looked at temperature, rainfall, vapour pressure and the number of months suitable for the transmission of malaria in the African nations. None had altered significantly during the past century to explain the upsurge in malaria.

"If climate has not changed at the four study sites, other changes must have been responsible for the observed increases in malaria," Hay added.

He blamed a rise in drug resistant malaria for the upsurge in western Kenya and said population changes, lack of control over mosquito breeding and poor health services had contributed to the increase in malaria in the other areas.

Malaria, the world's deadliest tropical disease, kills about two million people worldwide each year. More than 90 percent of deaths are in Africa and most are among children.

Although effective anti-malaria drugs are available, the malaria parasite has developed resistance to many treatments.

Copyright © 14:03 02-20-02Reuters Limited. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).

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Malaria Kills Over 110,000 Ugandans Annually
©The Monitor, Kampala
Wossita Samuel
April 26, 2002

A total of 119,720 Ugandans die of malaria annually, according to a brochure published by Quality Chemicals Limited who are the distributors of treated mosquito nets.

"Currently over 328 people die of malaria daily in Uganda," states the document tilted Facts about malaria in Uganda presented during the campaigns to celebrate the Africa Malaria Day marked on April 25.

The document states that malaria may impair as much as 60 percent of the school children's learning ability and children under 5 years are more vulnerable to malaria attack than those over the age of five.

The World Bank estimates that Uganda spends over eighty nine billion shillings on treatment of malaria alone annually.

"On average up to Shs 54,000 is spent on malaria treatment per person per year," adds the document.

Malaria is also a principal contributor to infant mortality mainly due to low birth weight, and complicated malaria in children can kill within 24 hours.

Malaria also is responsible for nearly 60 percent of miscarriages among women.

"Pregnant women are 4 times as likely to suffer malaria attacks than those who are not pregnant," emphasises the document.

In Uganda the national celebrations were held at Kumi

Quality Chemicals Limited calls upon Ugandans to use treated mosquito nets to reduce the spread of malaria. It states that sleeping under a treated mosquito net will kill mosquitoes coming into contact.

Copyright © 2002 The Monitor. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).

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Who Hails Kampala Over Free Drugs
©New Vision, Kampala
April 25, 2002

THE World Health Organisation (WHO) has praised Uganda's move to supply free anti-malarial drugs in the communities, for rapid treatment of malaria in children, reports Charles Wendo.

In a statement from the headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, WHO said Uganda is leading the way in "a simple concept that could revolutionise the delivery of malaria treatment in Africa."

WHO said the new strategy could save millions of lives and reduce the economic burden caused by malaria.

"Instead of walking miles to reach a health centre and then waiting for hours, mothers will soon be able to knock on their neighbour's door to get the help they need," WHO said in a release.

The project, Home Based Management of malaria, is being launched today during Africa Malaria Day ceremonies in Kumi.

It is expected to cover all the villages of Uganda within 18 months. The launch follows a successful pilot trial in three districts.

Copyright © 2002 New Vision. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).

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Malaria Kills Over 70,000 Ugandans Annually
©New Vision, Kampala
Catherine Ntabadde
May 31, 2002

THE number of Ugandans who die of malaria annually is between 70,000 and 110,000, Dr. F. Kato, the malaria control programme senior medical officer in the Ministry of Health, said yesterday.

"Malaria is a curable disease but unfortunately, the number of Ugandans who die of the disease increases every year. Delay in getting treatment is one of the main causes of death," Kato said.

he was launching the SmartNet multimedia campaign at Nsambya Babies Home yesterday.

He said, "When people do not seek early treatment, they develop complications and may die."

SmartNets, which are treated with insecticide, are manufactured by Commercial Marketing Strategies (CMS). The organisation operates in partnership with the Ministry of Health.

Kato said the use of insecticide treated nets (ITNs) was one of the principal interventions recommended by the World Health Organisation for the prevention and control of malaria in sub- Saharan Africa.

"ITNs have been found to be effective in reducing illness and death due to malaria and are a good value for money," he said.

Officials from the health ministry, CMS, and USAID attended the launch.

Kato commended CMS for the achievements so far made since their launch of the SmartNet in December 27, 2000.

CMS donated 30 SmartNets to Nsambya Babies Home.

USAID's malaria advisor Albert Kilian handed over the nets to Teddy Nakyanzi, a matron of the home and John Kasule, a social worker.

Copyright © 2002 New Vision. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).

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President Museveni Launches Malaria Campaign
©New Vision, Kampala
Charles Wendo
June 18, 2002

President Yoweri Museveni yesterday directed civic, political, cultural and religious leaders countrywide to zealously mobilise parents to take their children for immunisation.

Museveni said it was "a major scandal" that 100,000 children in Uganda die of immunisable diseases every year yet the vaccines are available free of charge throughout the country.

He likened it to genocide since local leaders and parents negligently fail to ensure that children are taken for immunisation. He blamed it on poor leadership. He said all children should be immunised five times by the age of one year.

"This is a very big shame to see that 100,00 children are dying of immunisable diseases every year. Then why are we fighting Kony who is killing just a few? Poor leadership is killing more people than Kony," he said.

Museveni was speaking at the Kampala International Conference Centre while revitalising the immunisation campaign. The aim is to increase the number of children receiving immunisation.

Museveni also launched two new vaccines against Hepatitis B and the Haemophilus influenza B germ that causes meningitis and pneumonia, had been added to the six traditional vaccines.

Museveni also launched the home-based management of fever, a project in which pre-packaged malaria drugs will be distributed in the communities free of charge.

The president said the vaccines are safe because they are checked by the World Health Organisation and rechecked on arrival in Uganda. He said if there were any problems with vaccines, Uganda had the means to detect them.

He warned that the curses of children who contract polio, measles and other imunisable diseases would haunt their parents and leaders.

Earlier, he clapped and took notes as children of Shimoni Demonstration School and Lake Victoria School sang a poem, 'I can't play, I can't run, (because) my parents did not listen and my leaders did not act.'

Estimates from the Ministry of Health show that Uganda's infant mortality rate initially declined from 122 to 81 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1986 and the mid-1990s but rose again to 88 currently.

Museveni said in 1987, he launched a nationwide immunisation programme and relaxed, only to be surprised that childhood death rates were rising again. He said the main cause was the declining immunisation coverage.

"We cannot go on like this. We need to look at existing laws. If it is not enough, we shall have to do something about it," he said.

He urged local governments to make by-laws to promote immunisation and other practices that promote health. He said because of poor health behaviour, Ugandans die in large numbers and the bereaved find solace in saying the deceased has been called by God.

"Why does God call only Africans? Doesn't God want to be with the Japanese? We must stop this nonsense," he said.

Museveni said whereas more than 100 radio stations had been licensed, most leaders use them only for politicking yet ill health is the leading cause of poverty in Uganda.

"You can talk about multipartyism but also talk about preventive health. It is a big shame to the leadership for children to die of these preventable diseases," he said.

Present were the National Political Commissar; Dr. Cryspus Kiyonga, the WHO representative, Dr. Oladapo Walker, the UNICEF country representative, Martin Mogwanja and Irish ambassador Martin O'Fainin.

Copyright © 2002 New Vision. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).

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Malaria Undermines Performance
©New Vision, Kampala
ANALYSIS
Grace Canada
July 29, 2002

Over the past few weeks, a number of school children have been sent home both from boarding school because of malaria.

Having malaria by itself is bad, but the effects of malaria, unless taken care of, can make matters worse for your child, especially with the approaching exam season.

Malaria destroys the red blood cells, leading to anaemia (weak blood). In turn, anaemia can easily undermine your child's school performance.

Some of the symptoms of the anaemia include tiredness, dizziness, headaches, lack of appetite.

Hence, anaemia can easily interfere with your child's overall performance including learning.

The good news is that it is within your power to be proactive. As such, you can prevent unnecessary health problems that can result in poor academic performance.

Recommendations:

When your child has had malaria, get his or her blood checked for anaemia.

Since worms and poor diet can cause anaemia, deworm your child every three months also. At all times, do the best you can to provide your family with a balanced diet containing foods that are rich in iron.

Foods that are rich in iron include meat, liver, fish, chicken, dried and cooked beans or peas, milk, eggs, ground nuts, fermented bushera, cabbage, green pepper, tomatoes, pumpkin, green leafy vegetables, mangoes, oranges, pineapples, limes, lemons, guavas, passion fruit and any other fruits and vegetables available in your area.

Considerations:

In some cases, for example, if your child is in a boarding school, it may become necessary to give him or her multi-vitamin supplement containing iron. However, do not give iron supplements unless the child's blood has been tested, and he or she is found to be anaemic. Too much iron can be toxic.

Vitamin C enhances the absorption of iron from meals. As such, avoid over-cooking or throwing away cooking water from vegetables. Over cooking destroys some vitamins such as Vitamin C.

Therefore, if you throw away the cooking-water, the nutritional value of your vegetables or food is undermined.

Some foods interfere with the absorption of iron from meals, while others facilitate its absorption.

For example, if you drink tea or coffee after a meal or within three hours of eating, you will absorb relatively less iron from the meal. Coffee and tea contain a chemical known as tannin that interferes with the absorption of iron from foods.

On the other hand, foods and fruit that contain Vitamin C enhance the absorption of iron from foods or beverages.

For example, your child will absorb more iron from a meal containing posho, beans, pumpkin, cabbage or green pepper than from a meal consisting of beans and posho only

Copyright © 2002 New Vision. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).

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Malaria Deaths On Steep Decline
©The Monitor, Kampala
Carolyne Nakazibwe
January 10, 2003

Minister of State for Health (General Duties) Capt. Mike Mukula has said a new strategy on malaria had recorded nearly 100 percent success.

He said hardly any children have died of malaria since June in the districts of Kampala, Kumi, Masindi, Bushenyi and Adjumani.

Mukula, who was addressing a visiting Danish delegation at the ministry headquarters yesterday, said the ministry was receiving positive reports from its Roll Back Malaria (RBM) strategy. He said the children who caught the fever were reported to have recovered within 48 hours of treatment.

Malaria is still the biggest cause of death in Uganda, despite the AIDS pandemic.

On June 17 President Yoweri Museveni launched the Home Based Management of Malaria at International Conference Centre as part of the RBM strate gy.

The programme involves the use of pre(c) packages drugs (Homapak).

Mukula also told the delegation of members of the Danish Parliament and Family Planning Association that government was putting more emphasis on improving the sexual reproductive health in the country.

He said 505 out of every 100,000 mothers die during childbirth, while 88 infants per 1,000 live births die in the country.

The Danish delegation of six, headed by Helga Moos, is in the country for a week on a familiarization tour specifically on reproductive health.

The Family Planning Association of Uganda is hosting the Danes.

During their stay, they will visit the UN Population Fund, TASO and Kapchorwa district, among others. They said they are also interested in seeing how the aid given by Denmark to Uganda is being used.

Copyright © 2003 The Monitor. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).

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Malaria Biggest Health Threat, Says Ubos Survey
©New Vision, Kampala
February 8, 2003
Malaria poses a serious challenges to the health of Ugandans, reports Josephine Maseruka.

This was contained in a mid-term Uganda National Household Survey 2000/2003 released by Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS).

According to a health module, in the survey conducted between April and December last year, malaria accounted for over half of reported illnesses.

The high malaria prevalence is depicted both in urban and rural areas. Respiratory infections came second.

Other diseases reported were intestinal infections, diarrhoea, skin infections and measles.

It was observed that the level of education is positively associated with knowledge of ways to avoid HIV/Aids.

Over 98.4% of the respondents aged 10 and above are familiar with at least one method of avoiding HIV/Aids. males and females showed similar patterns of knowledge of the important ways.

The report showed that people with post primary education were more likely to report knowledge of three or more ways.

The survey covered 5,000 households and dealt with issues like labour force, informal sector and household socio-economic characteristics which covers health and education among others.

Copyright © 2003 New Vision. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).

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$2m Needed for Malaria Drugs
©New Vision, Kampala
Bamuturaki Musinguzi
November 3, 2003

THE Ministry of Health is short of $2m needed to spread its Home-Based Management of Fever (HBM) Strategy countrywide.

Under the project, launched by President Yoweri Museveni in 2001, children are supposed to get free malaria tablets in the communities. Every village is supposed to have at least one volunteer who dispenses the medicine whenever a child gets malaria, even at night.

The move is expected to drastically reduce the number of childhood deaths countrywide. However, due to shortage of funds, 26 districts have not yet started implemented it. Thirty districts have begun implementing the project but only a few of them have covered all villages.

"We shall not be able to hit our targets," said Dr. Frederick Kato, a senior official of the Malaria Control Programme. He is, however, optimistic that the project will spread to the remaining 26 districts in a period of three- six months, as soon as the funds are made available.

The African Development Bank, Ireland Aid and World Health Organisation, have already made their contribution of 16 per cent ($483,811), while the Ministry of Health is expected to make a 19 percent contribution.

Government hopes that the grant expected from the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis will fill the gap. The Global Fund has already availed money for AIDS, while that for malaria and TB are expected next year.

The funding gap for HBM is mainly affecting the provision of drugs in special packs called HOMAPAK -- one type for children of two months to two years old and the other for children of two to five years old. The drugs in this pack are a combination of Chloroquine and SP (fansidar), which are recommended by the Ministry of Health.

Malaria remains the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Uganda. It accounts for 46 per cent of illnesses in children, 20-40 per cent of outpatient visits, 25 percent of hospital admissions and 14 per cent of in-patient deaths. It has spread to areas that were previously malaria-free. There is increasing resistance of malaria parasites to drugs.

According to Dr. Kato, communities are enthusiastic about HBM where it is operational. The number of children taken to hospitals with malaria has drastically reduced in those areas. The death rates of children due to malaria in communities participating in the programme have also reduced. "Many children have so far been treated with HOMAPAK which has registered a success of more than 90 per cent cure rate," he revealed.

According to the Director General of Health Services, Prof. Francis Omaswa, malaria is one of the most frequent causes of illness in homes, leading not only to suffering but also to economic loss, as sick people do not work.

Most attacks of malaria are simple, Omaswa said.

"If treated promptly, full recovery of the patient is expected. However, if treatment is delayed, uncomplicated malaria is likely to progress and become severe and complicated, in which case, death or residual disability is likely to occur."

Copyright © 2003 New Vision. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).

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