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Malaria pandemic, an economic loss to Uganda

Malaria pandemic, an economic loss to Uganda

A Child sheltered with a mosquito net.

By Simon Mukama

Kampala: Uganda today is marking the World Malaria Day in Bugiri district on an occasion to highlight the need for continued investment and sustained political commitment for malaria prevention and control. 

Uganda has one of the highest global burden of malaria cases, with over 90 per cent of the population at risk.

Malaria remains Uganda’s leading cause of death, especially in children. Millions of Mosquito Nets will be supplies to families countrywide according to the Ministry of Health.

Recent research reports on the pandemic indicate that the average economic loss in Uganda due to malaria annually is over U$500 million.

In 2021, the World Health Organisation reported that there were an estimated 13 million malaria cases and over 19,600 estimated deaths in the country.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament Thomas Tayebwa has asked Ugandans to get rid of mosquitoes with plant repellents and clearing bushes around their homes.

Speaking after taking a lead role in the Parliament Walk against Malaria last Sunday, Tayebwa said it doesn’t have to be only about money but mobilisation and sensitization of communities can play an important role in the fight against Malaria which kills 52 Ugandans daily and accounts to economic loss of Shs2.4 trillion per year.

Tayebwa with MPs making drills.

“We are going to task ourselves as leaders to go back to our communities and sensitize them so that they can get tested, clear bushes around their homes, use plants which are mosquito repellents and use the nets for the purpose they are meant to serve,” Tayebwa said.

“We need to look at Malaria from an economic point of view. How much are we losing as a country so that when one is calculating that we don’t have money, he also knows that if this money is invested, it would prevent a hemorrhage of other funds, an effect on the economy, and protect life,” he said.

The Parliament Walk against Malaria is being led by the Uganda Parliamentary Forum on Malaria as part of the World Malaria day on 25 April 2023.

Mr Geoffrey Mutiwa, the treasurer for Uganda Parliamentary Forum on Malaria (UPFM) and MP Bunyole West said that many Ugandans are unaware that malaria is one of the major killer diseases in the country and reiterated the urgency to enlighten Ugandans on eliminating the disease.

“As stakeholders, we need to work together and ensure that we educate the population about the causes of malaria. This will show them that it is a major problem that should be fought against,” Mutiwa said.

“Political engagement is so important in combating malaria and as parliamentarians we can use our influence and platforms to support initiatives and ultimately help make key decisions regarding policies and budget allocations,” Mutiiwa said.

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