Apac Believed to have Highest Malaria Rates in the World

Medical research suggests that Apac district in northern Uganda may have one of the highest rates of malaria infections in the world.

Gilbert Ocaya, the Field Officer of Research Triangle Institute International, says a study conducted in Aduku sub-county in Apac indicates that each resident suffers close to 1,600 infective mosquito bites in a year. He says these it is on this basis that Government resolved to use the controversial insecticide DDT to spray mosquitoes in Apac.

Research Triangle International has been contracted by the United States Presidential Malaria Initiative to conduct indoor house spraying with Icon or DDT in Uganda.

Ocaya explains that DDT is being used in malaria endemic areas like Apac while Icon, whose effectiveness ranges between four to six months, has been used in non-endemic but epidemic-prone districts like Kabale and Kanungu.

Dr. Michael Erem, the Apac District Health Officer, says 35 to 40 percent of outpatients in the health units suffer malaria. 20 percent of all admissions are also due to malaria. Fatalities due to malaria stands at a high 11 percent.

The high malaria infection rate is mainly attributed to the swampy terrain that provides a fertile breeding ground for malaria-carrying female anopheles mosquitoes.

Dr. Erem says that initially some people, especially organic farmers, were skeptical about the DDT spraying, but embraced it after it was explained to them.