By Raissa Bantra Canada
Malaria is a dangerous disease caused by a mosquito—infected by a parasite—that feeds on humans. Uganda, unfortunately, bears a heavy burden of malaria cases. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) World Malaria Report of 2020, Uganda accounted for about 4% of the global malaria cases, with over 10 million confirmed cases and thousands of deaths annually. The disease disproportionately affects vulnerable groups, particularly children under the age of five and pregnant women.
Malaria has a negative influence on health, education, and even the economy, Malaria exerts immense pressure on Uganda’s healthcare system, resulting in increased hospitalizations and clinic visits. This strain not only diverts resources from other essential health services but also affects the country’s workforce productivity. Families grappling with the disease face increased medical expenses, pushing them further into poverty. The economic toll of malaria in Uganda is huge. A study published in the Malaria Journal in 2020 estimated that the disease accounts for an annual economic loss of around $1.3 billion in the country.
Malaria’s impact on education is also concerning. Children frequently miss school due to the disease, leading to learning gaps and diminished educational attainment. According to a study by the Ministry of Health in Uganda, malaria-related absenteeism can account for up to 50% of all school absenteeism, perpetuating the cycle of poverty.
While Uganda has taken huge steps to battle such negative effects, there is more to be done. Collaborative initiatives between the Ugandan government, international organizations, and the global community are crucial in the fight against malaria. By addressing the root causes of how malaria spreads and increasing healthcare funding, Uganda can pave the way for a healthier and more prosperous future.
World Health Organization. “World Malaria Report 2020.” Geneva: WHO, 2020.
Ministry of Health – Uganda. “The Social and Economic Impact of Malaria in Uganda.” Ministry of Health, Uganda, 2014.
President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI). U.S. Agency for International Development. https://www.pmi.gov/
The Global Fund. https://www.theglobalfund.org/en/