Uganda has some of the highest malaria transmission rates in the world, together with limited financial resources to put towards prevention. Poverty and malaria are self-reinforcing. Globally speaking, poorer countries have higher rates of malaria. And the poor within countries have more disease than the wealthy, too: the poorest 20% of Ugandan citizens have 10 times the disease burden of the top-earning 20%. Malaria disproportionately burdens the poor. In order to create a future of sustainable prosperity and health, we have to eliminate malaria.

But the 2019 World Malaria Report shows that global progress towards this goal has stagnated. In order to achieve a malaria-free Uganda, and even a malaria-free Africa, our global community must accelerate our progress against the disease, concentrating resources in the most highly burdened places. We need rigorous scientific inquiry and data-driven policy to guide those investments. That’s why Pilgrim Africa is focused on operational research, policy making, and the implementation of best practices.

Operational research on accelerated burden reduction

Our Katakwi Rotary Malaria Project is researching the most effective combinations of current tools to reduce burden quickly, and keep it low, cost-effectively.  This five year project is currently in “Phase Two” in which we are examining the effectiveness of active and passive community-led case management for malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea in combination with PBO bednets.  With support from Rotary International, Rotarian Malaria Partners, President’s Malaria Initiative, and  the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, we are charting the most efficient course towards elimination in high transmission areas.

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Monitoring and evaluation of malaria control initiatives

In partnership with American Institutes of Research, we are working for the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) as third party monitors of their bilateral support to malaria in Uganda.  As DFID is currently funding the provision of essential malaria services to poor and vulnerable populations in Uganda, and plans to transition away from bilateral support to Uganda, the primary mandate of the third party group is to advise DFID and Uganda’s National Malaria Control Division on the best transition strategy that will most effectively retain the gains created by the program to date.

Health Worker Training

Many people in rural, poor families don’t have access to public health facilities, and instead seek care at private and not-for-profit clinics. We received a Global Fund grant to train pharmacists in these non-government health facilities about the most updated malaria case management practices. This project improved care available to two million people.

Operational research on infection and susceptibility

In 2020, Pilgrim Africa began a new research collaboration with Boise State University, University of Colorado, and University of Lancaster that will look closely at the space & time relationship between where people are living, mosquito densities and biting behaviors, and new cases of malaria.


Uganda has some of the highest malaria transmission rates anywhere in the world, and yet is making enormous strides against the disease, lowering average infection rates from 40% in 2009 to 9% in 2018. We are honored to work closely with the Ugandan Ministry of Health and the National Malaria Control Division in all of our projects, and in alignment with the national malaria reduction strategy. As partners, we are measuring success against disease, crafting excellent policy, and integrating vector control and preventative treatment strategies.