Latest statistic from World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that there are 198 million cases of malaria worldwide and 90% of the cases occur in Africa.
In Gulu, in northern Uganda alone, there were 321,967 cases of accumulated cases of malaria out of a population of 457,045 people, representing 83% since April 2015 to date.
GULU-UGANDA: Emmanuel Ongaya celebrated his twenty-sixth birthday on Wednesday, March 16, 2016 but without marking the day like most people would normally do with the cutting of birthday cake. His mother, Cecila Aber, says she gave him the name Emmanuel because it was God’s grace and protection that Ongaya is still alive today.
“First, he came into the world as a premature baby through caesarian birth. Secondly, he survived only to be attacked by cerebral malaria when he was less than two years old. Thirdly, he was the only child out of six patients who were put on oxygen to have come out alive from St. Mary’s Hospital, Lacor. The name “Emmanuel” means “God with us” is so fitting for him.” says Cecilia.
Although he has since grown into a tall huge boy, Emmanuel got an early set back in life after contracting epilepsy while in secondary school, something which haunts him on daily basis whenever he gets seizures.
“He now lives a sadist’s life. He blames everybody, including me, for the sickness, thinking his sickness was a result of us-his parents’ negligence that he is sick. It has even affected his education. He was forced to branch to a technical school”, says Cecilia.
Emmanuel Ongaya is just one of the statistics of the 6.2 million would be death which were averted globally since 2001 from plasmodium falciparum malaria. Malaria is a mosquito borne disease which has reached epidemic proportion in the 1990’s leading to a new global strategy in 2000 with Africa at the center stage.
According to World Health Organization (WHO) the malaria burden in the world in 2013 was one person in every one thousand people. There are 198 million cases of malaria worldwide where 90% of these cases occur in Africa alone.
Clinically diagnosed malaria is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Uganda. It accounts for 25%-40% of outpatients, 15%-20% of all hospital admissions and 9%-14% of all hospital deaths. Because of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in northern Uganda, health care systems were run down whereby you find that anti-malaria treatments are lacking in public health facilities. Many people now prefer private-for-profit drug outlets but those which lack qualified staffs manning them.
Abortion is also common and on the increase due to malaria in northern Uganda where 378 deaths have occurred of patients admitted in hospitals wards with malaria since April 2015 to date. There were 42 deaths of pregnant mothers due to malaria over the same period.
Efforts of contain malaria in Uganda
Besides treating malaria free of charge from health facilities, government of Uganda has also distributed mosquito-nets to every household to contain the epidemic.
The government is planning to spray all the houses again with insecticide after a break of nearly three years-which is blamed on the current upsurge of malaria cases.
A person like Emmanuel Ongaya need to thank God that he has survived all odds to still be living today instead of blaming his parents for having contracted the malaria disease in the first place since he was born at a time when war was going on in northern Uganda. Talk of effects of run-down health facilities in Africa by despots.