President Yoweri Museveni has directed district leaders in Apac to embark on indoor residual spraying and distribution of mosquito nets in a bid to control the surging malaria cases.
Speaking at Boma Grounds in Apac on Tuesday, the president observed that indoor spraying and the use of treated mosquito nets would greatly lower the rate of malaria infections in the district.
The President made the directive while responding to concerns raised by Kwania county Member of Parliament Tonny Ayo about the growing rate of malaria prevalence in the district.
â€œWhere is the district health officer, can you explain to me why you are making malaria killing my people in Apac?,â€ Museveni asked amidst applauses from the general public.
Apac has the highest malaria infection rate in the world. The district health officer Dr Mathew Emer estimate that each person on average receives 1,600 malaria infected bites every year. That is more than four infected mosquito bites every night.
â€œWhen looking at this data, the figures seem unreal: In the dry months, January and February 2007, there were 10,920 and 11,952 registered cases, with almost half of these amongst the youngest, those aged four and below,â€ says Emer
Dr Emer says that the majority of deaths from malaria take place within the communities, which are not reported.
He also says that malaria is one of the major causes of maternal mortality within the district.
Geofrey Onyik, the district health educator, says Apac recorded an increase in malaria positive cases from 2,216 between January and March last year to 4,002 cases during the same period this year.
The recently released Uganda Malaria Indicator survey 2014-15 indicates that the national prevalence dropped from 42 per cent in 2009 to 19 per cent.
However, Apac continues to diagnose many malaria patients despite the northern region registering a drop from 63 per cent in 2009 to 20 per cent.
Apac District chairman, Bob Okae, says from 2008 to 2014, government embarked on indoor residual spraying in the district as well as in other nine districts in the mid-north to combat malaria.
However, the intervention was stopped last year yet the district continues to suffer from a high malaria burden due to the many swamps around the area which are breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
Julius Peter Oyek, a laboratory technician at Apac Hospital, says the two swamps, which are close to Apac Town Council, act as breeding grounds for the mosquitoes and it gets worse during the rainy season when the water levels rise.
â€œThe swamps act as breeding grounds for the mosquitoes and that is why there are very many mosquitoes in Apac. During the rainy season, the swamps become water logged causing the mosquitoes to multiply thus increased malaria infections,â€ explains Oyek.
Dr Emer notes that the district is slowly sliding back to its old position of topping in malaria cases.
Joel Ewany, a senior clinical officer at Apac Hospital, though in a dilapidated state, the facility has a steady supply of anti-malaria drugs.