Ugandan Minister of Health, Jim Muhwezi said in a statement issued
to mark the annual Africa Malaria Day on Tuesday that government losses
690 million dollars to malaria including all costs like transport to a
health unit or drug shop, special food requirements, time one spends
not going to work because he or she is sick or attending to the sick.
This year's theme of Africa Malaria Day is "Universal Access to
effective malaria treatment is a human right". Malaria is a life
threatening parasitic disease transmitted from person to person through
the bite of a female anopheles mosquito and kills about one million
Malaria accounts for much morbidity and mortality in Uganda. Ugandan
families spend on average one tenth of their meager incomes treating
malaria. World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that malaria kills
an African child every thirty seconds. The most vulnerable people are
pregnant women, children aged less than five years, people living with
HIV and travelers from areas with little or no malaria transmission to
areas with high transmission.
According to ministry of health statistics, 70,000 to 110,000
malaria-specific deaths occur every year in Uganda and 20-30 percent of
deaths among children under five admitted to health facilities is
caused by malaria.
Following this alarming situation, Muhwezi said the ministry has
embarked on various programs to fight the killer disease. He said
government has increased access to health care facilities, aimed to
make every parish have a functional health unit.
He noted that government expenditure in health has progressively
increased from 9 percent in 2000 to 12 percent in 2005. In addition,
the country has accesses more resources through the Global Fund to
fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Muhwezi also noted that access to prompt and effective malaria
treatment has been improved through implementation of the Home Based
Management of Fever Strategy. "In each village throughout the country,
two volunteers have been trained to distribute the first line
anti-malarial package," said Muhwezi.