Malaria Deaths Rise in Gulu as Hospitals Run Out of Drugs

Elvis Okello Romnson, the Bio statistician in the Health Department in Gulu told Uganda Radio Network that the district will in the next two weeks declare an epidemic of Malaria if the current situation remains.
Okello extracting data on malaria in Gulu District on Wedensday morning

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At least 107 people have reportedly died of malaria in Gulu in nine months amidst stock outs of drugs in various health facilities in the District.

Elvis Okello Romnson, the Bio statistician in the Health Department in Gulu told Uganda Radio Network on Wednesday that the District has recorded 9,315 admissions of malaria with 107 deaths from January 2020 to August.

A total of 52 deaths were recorded in children below five years of age while 55 occurred in adults according.

Okello revealed that over 800 people have continued to receive treatment from outpatients department monthly in the various health facilities which is a growth in the positivity rate of malaria infections from 56.1% in 2019 to 61.1% currently.

The District has reported variations of the positivity rate in the rural areas with the most affected Sub Counties being Paibona with 77.5%, Bungatira 76%, Palaro 74.7 and Omel at 74.1%.

The lowest rate of infections in the District was recorded in Awach Sub County with 26.9% while Bar-Dege in Gulu West Division and Laroo in the Eastern Division registered  28.3% and 30.8% of the infections in the City. 

Okello further noted that the District will in the next two weeks declare an epidemic of malaria if the situation continues. “We are next to the upper limit of the upsurge and we must concentrate effort on interventions if we must avoid that” he told URN.

Cue in……..”Since January we….”   Cue out…..”If it persists………” 

At Gulu Regional Referral Hospital, Grace Odwar a single mother from Pece Vanguard Ward in Gulu East Division is one on the many people admitted with children with severe complication of malaria in the hospital.

Odwar says, she has spent three days in the hospital with her 15 year old son buying drugs from the pharmacy for the health workers to administer to her child. THe drugs have so far cost her 56,000 shillings.

Dr. Janani Luwum, in charge of Public Health Care Services at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital says the hospital has run out of drugs with the increasing cases of malaria in the District.

He says  many people have failed to adhere to the basic control of malaria which include clearing of bushes around homes, removing stagnant water which provide good breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Cue in…”the infestation of…..” Cue out…automatically it will…”

Sister Jenifer Amono, in charge Maternity Ward in Gulu Regional Referral Hospital says malaria accounts for the highest mortality in premature babies which claims over 20 babies on monthly basis.

“Most the patients come to the facility with severe complications and we sometimes cannot help to save their lives “Amono added.

Northern Uganda had suffered malaria outbreaks since 2015 after the discontinuation of indoor residual spraying, and the current upsurge in suspected to be linked to climate variations according to the 2018 report by Gulu University Public Health Department.