Malaria Prevention in Uganda

Uganda became active in the Stomping Out Malaria initiative in February of 2012. With 122 volunteers placed in every region of the country there is potential to create an effective malaria prevention plan. According to the Presidents Malaria Initiative (PMI), “Malaria is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Uganda accounting for 25-40 percent of outpatient visits to health facilities, 15-20 percent of all hospital admissions, and 9-14 percent of all hospital deaths. Nearly half of all inpatient deaths among children under 5 are attributed to malaria.” A World Health Organization (WHO) study states that only 10% of both children under 5 and pregnant women are currently sleeping under mosquito nets. This is a major factor in the 16% of children under 5 who die from malaria each year in Uganda.

Uganda is taking  major strides in the area of malaria intervention supported by CDC, PMI, USAID and now the Stomping Out Malaria Initiative.  The four areas of intervention to prevent and treat malaria include the use of insecticide-treated mosquito nets, indoor residual spraying (IRS), intermittent preventive treatment for pregnant women (IPTp) and proper diagnosis and treatment of complicated and uncomplicated malaria. Peace Corps volunteers in Uganda are actively involved with all four of these interventions.

In addition to these four areas, Peace Corps volunteers in Uganda are currently engaged in a wide range of behavior change activities including a bi-weekly radio show in Bushenyi.  The show addresses malaria prevention and treatment behavioral issues.  It airs during prime radio listening time, 8:30-9:00 pm, engaging listeners through question and answer sessions after an introduction to the behavior change topic.  This is an interactive radio show that encourages listeners to engage the topics, and prizes are rewarded for those callers and individuals who sent in messages via SMS for their participation.

An example of another interesting behavior change activity was a drama show that took place in Mittoma, Uganda.  The drama addressed good behaviors such as sleeping under a long lasting insecticide treated mosquito net (LLIN) every night in order to prevent malaria.  Also, early treatment seeking behavior is promoted throughout the drama alongside the illustration of the signs and symptoms of malaria.



4 thoughts on “Malaria Prevention in Uganda

    • Hey Liane,
      Firstly, thank you for the comment and the interest in malaria intervention in Uganda. Ryan and I are the Stomping Out Malaria in Africa representatives here in Uganda. I spoke with our PMI team about the issues of counterfeit anti-malarial medication. Like I suspected, the agency focusing on this issue is the National Drug Authority (NDA). I contacted the the head of drug information at the agency to inquire about what programs they have in place to tackle this problem. From what I know, the main issue with counterfeit anti-malarial medication is in the private sector which is where the majority of people in Uganda seek treatment. This is mainly due to poor supply chain management within the private health facilities, thus leaving the employees working at such facilities to seek alternate sources of supply. I have personally visited such private clinics where the health worker travels to a small town to buy Coartem from a local private pharmacy. Because these small somewhat make-shift private pharmacies are not regulated by any central authority, this is highly problematic and an open avenue for the sale of counterfeit drugs. I will keep you posted on what I find out from the NDA and how they are addressing the problem. Take care

  1. I am part of a mission team that visited there to do medical clinics for a week. We will be going back in January 2013 an hope to purchase some of our meds in country – namely the malaria treatment Alu because the cost is so much better in Uganda than treatment we can purchase in the states – even from one of the mission pharmacies. Do you think that medications purchased from pharmacies in bulk stand a better chance of being true than ones offered for sale to individuals?

  2. Anne,
    I think that the quality of the anti-malarial is the same if you buy it from local pharmacies in bulk or individually. With that said, you have a better chance of procuring higher quality drugs in Kampala than in the field. This is my educated guess. From what I see in the field here in Southwest Uganda is that due to the lack of regulation and quality control, there is a small chance that you will purchase an anti-malarial drug that will be of low quality. There have been a few quality control studies done here in Uganda that highlight the quality of the different pharmaceutical companies that sell their anti-malarial drug in Uganda, and you will see that a few companies have consistently produced poor quality drugs. I would stay away from those particular companies. If you have anymore questions, please feel free to let me know.

    Nick Leichliter
    Stomping Out Malaria in Africa Uganda Coordinator

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