500 Ugandans die of malaria daily

24 Apr 2006
AND Network
Dr Meyrs Lugemwa, a senior researcher from the malaria control department in the Ministry of Health, said death due to malaria was alarming.

"Basing on the clinical statistics, 320 people die daily from Malaria in Uganda," he said. He said the biggest number die from their homes since most Ugandans depend on herbs for treatment.

"Malaria death rate is far above 500 in Uganda on daily basis and therefore, the Ministry of Health is determined to prevent its spread by using all possible ways including DDT," Lugemwa said.

Lugemwa was on Saturday addressing Makerere University Pharmacy students during a four-day workshop under the theme " Accessibility and changing trends, use of herbal and modern medicines in the management of diseases in developing countries".

He attributed the increase of malaria death to use of fake drugs distributed by some pharmaceutical companies. Makerere University Pharmacy Students Association (Muspa), president, Mr Tumusime Kenneth, said the annual workshop is meant to bring together pharmacy students, health practitioners, doctors, herbalists and the public to learn new drugs on the market as well as changes in medicine use.

Prof. Richard Odoi, the head of the Pharmacy department at Makerere University Medical School, urged the Ministry of Health to put in place genuine clinical tests before approving herbal medicines currently in drug shops. Medical researchers should ensure that such trials (tests) take the required medical three phases," he said.

According to traditional healers and Modern Pratitioners Together Against Aids(Theta), a Ugandan NGO initiated through a partnership between the Aids Support Organisation Uganda Ltd and Medicines Sans Frontieres, an international humanitarian organisation, there is a countrywide research on all herbs in a move to identify genuine ones.

Ms Roselyn Katandi, a researcher from Theta said the modern medical practitioners always confuse witches and herbalists, leading to undermining their work. "Theta is working on a national policy of traditional medicine to strengthen the operation of herbalists," she said.