SEATTLE — Pilgrim Africa was notified by the Ugandan Ministry of Health’s National Malaria Control Program of an upsurge in malaria incidence on August 21, 2019.

While the months of June to September are historically high transmission periods, 2019 has seen a higher number of malaria cases than typically recorded in the past. July 2018 recorded 948,136 malaria cases, compared to an 83% increase of 1,731,701 cases in July 2019.

In total, approximately 1.7 million people have been infected with malaria between June and August, and the numbers continue to climb.

As of September 24th, 2019, the Ministry of Health reported a majority of the country was still under priority epidemic level malaria disease burden. With high malaria burden also comes high malaria mortality, leading to malaria deaths recording at 2.5 times greater in 2019 than 2018. Most alarmingly, 72% of the deaths recorded occurred in children under 5 years old.

This upsurge in malaria is believed to have been exacerbated by climate change. As the climate warms, weather patterns and average temperatures have changed in parts of Uganda, enabling the disease carrying mosquitoes to spread and live in more areas.

As cited by the Ugandan Ministry of Health, prolonged intermittent rains have facilitated new and additional mosquito breeding sites, since mosquitoes breed in virtually any and every form of stagnant water. Therefore, the malaria vector mosquitoes have substantially increased in density.

Despite these disheartening reports, the district involved in the Katakwi Rotary Malaria Project (KRMP) with Pilgrim Africa was not reported as a district with a malaria upsurge. The Katakwi district has consistently been reported as a lower priority region and a declining epidemic district, with test positivity trends failing to reach the highest crisis threshold. Fortunately, zero deaths were reported in the September 24th Malaria Situation Report, a weekly status report of malaria in Uganda released by the Ministry of Health.  Below details key indicators used in monitoring the burden of malaria across Uganda, the district of Katakwi is outlined in blue.

As the threat of malaria has increased across Uganda, Pilgrim Africa has answered the local calls to action. By spraying neighboring parish regions with mosquito insecticide, we have hope that this preventative measure will provide more security against the disease, and peace of mind for the local villagers.

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