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Highly Sensitive Rapid Diagnostic Testing Kits to Reinforce Fight against Malaria – MoH



One of the goals of the Uganda Malaria Reduction Strategic Plan UMRSP (2014–2020) was and is to reduce the malaria parasite prevalence to less than 7%, (over 85% reduction in malaria parasite prevalence from a baseline of 45%) by 2020.

With the vision; to have a “malaria free Uganda”, the National Malaria Control Program under the Ministry of Health is making efforts and employing possible measures to end malaria in the country.

Uganda’s malaria reports, statistical data  

It should be noted that Uganda is ranked among the top 10 countries in Africa with severe malaria, as more than 16 people die daily, contributing a 5% of the global malaria deaths.

According to the 2019 World Malaria Report by World Health Organisation, Uganda is still the third highest contributor of malaria cases and the 7th highest contributor of malaria deaths.

The 2014 UMRSP Report indicates that in 2013 alone, over 16 million malaria cases and over 10,500 deaths were reported at health facilities.

According to the Ministry of Health, Malaria kills at least 16 people every day in Uganda and is considered among the top causes of death.

Malaria testing kits

More efforts to determine the best malaria testing kits continue to surface ever since the emergence of the Rapid Diagnostic Kits in the early 1990s.

The new developments have been subjected to testing by the World Health Organisation to prevent the circulation of fake ones in the medical supplies markets.

In 2019 a study was made using the Highly Sensitive Rapid NxTek Malaria Test Kits (HS-RDTs) in comparison with the use of a smart phone application (the Data Logger SMAPP) by the village health-care workers to provide an opportunity for real-time disease surveillance and elimination intervention in Mpigi district. T

The Ministry of Health discovered that the HS-RDTs (Abbott’s Malaria test) was more effective than the rapid diagnostic kits – the ordinary malaria tests.

This study was an “Observation to evaluate the value added high (Ultra) sensitive alere malaria RDT (HS-RDTs) and ease of use of smart phone reporting in Uganda.”

Thus, the newly approved HS-RDTs were supplied to various health facilities to facilitate quick detection of malaria parasites. This will help in the fight against malaria according to the Health Ministry.

Malaria testing in expectant mothers

Dr Jimmy Opigo, manager of Malaria Control Program said, “All suspected malaria cases will be subjected to a quality assured test on parasite based diagnosis.”

He also noted that pregnant mothers will be screened for malaria, on top of STIs that have always been focussed on.

“Previously, we have been screening for HIV, syphilis. However, malaria will be tested too to prevent the complications that come with malaria during pregnancy.”

According to the 2009 Malaria Indicator Survey (MIS), there was high prevalence of malaria parasites in children below 5 years of age; ranging from 5% in Kampala to 63% in mid northern region, with a national average of 45%.

Dr. Daniel Kyabayinze, the Deputy Manager Malaria Control Program also confirmed that the highly sensitive rapid kits are more effective and are ideal with the expectant mothers since malaria parasite detection tends to be a bit elusive with their condition.

“When pregnant mothers came in seeking care, we offered them a test as our policy; one with the highly sensitive test kits and the other with cRDTs (ordinary malaria tests). With the highly sensitive tests, we found 13% positive. When we used the cRDT, we found 7%,” he confirmed.

In the same vein, Dr Atwine mentioned that once the kits are introduced in schools, the fight will be effective.

“Children in schools are the majority of the malaria victims. These kits should be introduced in schools so that once they get sick, they are tested,” she suggested.

The MoH is also, with the ongoing “under the net” campaign, sensitizing the public on malaria prevention.

Tracking the malaria prevention progress

The weekly malaria status update produced by the National Malaria Control Division on a weekly basis to guide in planning, indicated that during week 29 (between 13th-19th July 2020), a total of 206,138 malaria confirmed cases were reported, which was an increase by 10% from 186,670 in the previous week.

It should be noted that in the same week last year, 286,469 cases were reported.

However, Week 31(between July 27 and August 2, 2020) indicated a total of 187,856 malaria cases reported, having declined by 15% from 220,510 cases the previous week. Compared to the same week last year, the cases reported this year were 63,584(25%) less.

The Ministry of Health is making arrangements that will see more of the HS-RDTs procured and incorporated in many health facilities as this will lay the ground for the early detection and elimination of malaria in Uganda.


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Another blow as Judge throws out Kiggundu’s lawyer Muwema



When court sat on Friday to hear the Kiggundu’s application to stop independent audit, he did not have a written application, and Justice Henry Adonyo instead ordered the plaintiff’s lawyer Fred Muwema to go make a written application seeking court to dismiss the audit and return to court on September 30 for a hearing of the application. But this adds more pressure on Kiggundu who is choking with the loans.

On 31 August, the judge ordered the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) to carry out and independent audit into the accounts of the businessman and financial statements exchanged between the two parties, and present a report to court.

When asked by journalists why he has filed for an application seeking dismissal of the audit, Fred Muwema had this to say. “We are saying that let the validity and legality of those credit facilities (loans) be decided first before you can audit” He said.

The ruling on the application of the main suit to determine whether the businessman owes loan arrears to the bank is set for 5th October 2020, after which a date for hearing of the case will be set.


Hamis Kiggundu through his companies Ham enterprises and Kiggs International (U) ltd sued DTB branches in Kenya and Uganda for deducting money from his accounts something which the bank contends and said they only acted as per the loan agreement of deducting 30% from Kiggundu’s accounts to recover the credit facilities rendered to him between February 2011 and September 2016

But Court documents filed by the bank in their defense shows that Kiggundu, between February 2011 and September 2016, was granted various credit facilities by the said DTB Banks.

First, via Ham Enterprises Limited, Kiggundu obtained a loan of $6,663,453 and another Sh2.5bn from the DTB (U) to finance his projects in the real estate business.

Later, according to New Vision, he got a facility worth $4.5m through Kiggs International (U) Limited from DTB (K) and mortgaged his properties, which include Plot 328 located at Kawuku on Block 248 Kyadondo, three plots that include 36, 37 and 38 on Folio 1533 Victoria Crescent II situated in Kyadondo and land on Makerere Hill Road on LRV 3716 Folio 10 Plot 923 Block 9.

Documents show that as of January 21, 2020, Kiggundu was in default on payment obligations of $6.298m on the loan facility of $6.663m, as well as sh2.885b on the demand overdraft facility of sh1.5b and the temporary demand overdraft facility of sh1b.

The banks say that Kiggundu was in default on the payment of another $3.662m out of a total loan facility of $4m and another $458,604 on a loan facility of $500,000, as of January 21, 2020.

The DTB consequently served him with a demand notice to either pay up or lose the assets that he submitted as collateral security. The bank threatened to attach a plot on Makerere Hill Road and other prime commercial properties.

Analysts says that Kiggundu’s lawyer is playing delaying tactics aimed at stopping the independent audit as ordered by the court earlier. Kiggundu had wanted court to believe his own audit of loan transactions, but that would amount to injustice to the banks that gave him money-DTB Uganda and DTB Kenya.

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Minister Rukutana charged with attempted murder, remanded




The state minister for Labour, Gender and Economic Development Mwesigwa Rukutana has been remanded to Kyamugorani prison in Mbarara district.

Rukutana appeared before Ntungamo Grade One magistrate Nazifah Namayanja this afternoon from where he was charged with seven offences related to attempted murder, assault, malicious damage, and threatening violence.

Rukutana was captured in a video that went viral on social media showing him grabbing a gun from one of his bodyguards and started shooting at a vehicle belonging to supporters of his political rival Naome Kabasharira. At the time of the incident, Rukutana had just lost the Rushenyi country NRM flag to Kabasharira.

The prosecution alleges that on September 5, 2020, at Kagugu village in Ntungamo district, Rukutana and others still at large assaulted Julius Niwamanya and threatened to kill or injure him together with three others. The others are Stuart Kamukama, Dan Rwibirungi, and Moses Kamukama. 

It is also alleged that Rukutana also willfully and unlawfully damaged a motor vehicle registration number UAR 840X Toyota Rav 4 type which belongs to Moses Muhumuza.

According to the Judiciary public relations officer, Jameson Karemani, Rukutana has not taken a plea of these charges against him since they can only be tried by the chief magistrate who was not in court today.

As a result, the magistrate decided to send him to Kyamugorani, awaiting his return to court on Tuesday.      

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Lira district headquarters closed over COVID-19




Lira district headquarters have been closed after one staff tested positive for COVID-19 last week. 

On Monday morning, district staff were blocked at the gate with only the deputy chief administrative officer, his secretary and the receptionist allowed access to their offices. 

Paul Samuel Mbiiwa, the deputy chief administrative officer says that only heads of department will be allowed at the headquarters while the rest will work from home. He adds that the restriction will help to curb the spread of the virus.

“You see corona is not a joke. We have taken a step at fighting it and that is why you are seeing the staff outside. Even in my office here I do not want people to come if there is anything we can discuss on the phone.”

Francis Okello Olwa, a senior community development officer who doubles as the district spokesperson says that the entire district offices will be fumigated and closed for two days.

Health authorities in the district are planning to take samples from all the staff because they could have interacted with the one who tested positive. Currently, there are 19 COVID-19 patients under treatment at Lira regional referral hospital.     

On Sunday four health workers at the hospital tested positive for COVID-19. Dr Patrick Odongo, a senior medical officer at the hospital also succumbed to the virus.  

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