Dr. Daniel Kyabayinze the Deputy Manager of the Malaria Control Programme said generally they found 50% more malaria cases in the community when they gave the high sensitivity test to Village Health Teams (VHTs) than when they used the common tests.
The Ministry of Health is recommending the use of High Sensitivity
Rapid Diagnostic Tests (HS – RDTs) after they found in a study that the test is
more effective than the commonly available RDTs in detecting malaria in
especially the asymptomatic cases.
Releasing their mid-term progress report dubbed, “Enhancing
Laboratory Capacity to Combat HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria on Friday, the Ministry
revealed that they conducted a study in Mpigi district where 21.1 % of 3,490
pregnant women tested positive for malaria even as they reported using mosquito
nets and the malaria prevention medication given in antenatal care.
Dr Daniel Kyabayinze the Deputy Manager of the Malaria Control Programme said
generally they found 50% more malaria cases in the community when they gave the
high sensitivity test to Village Health Teams (VHTs) than when they used the
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For the people that tested positive for malaria at the Outpatient departments
of health facilities Kyabayinze says, Village Health Teams were assigned to
follow them to their homes where they found for every five people, one
unknowingly had malaria.
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He says people who get malaria and remain undetected are a risk to
the malaria response since they remain reservoirs and continue spreading
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The Ministry also tested their capacity in detecting Tuberculosis
(TB) and HIV where they sent trained field support staff that covered more than
1,700 healthcare facilities countrywide including Health Centers III and IV and
District, Regional Referral and National Referral Hospitals.
In TB for example, Dr Stavia Turyahabwe who heads the TB and
Leprosy programme says that they deployed a new urine testing technology dubbed
Abbott’s Determine TB LAM rapid point of care test in which they were testing TB
in people living with HIV.
They recorded a 42% increase in the number of people diagnosed
with tuberculosis (TB) yet without the use of this test, almost half of TB
cases would have been missed.
Commenting on the report, Health Minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng said that there
were substantial improvements in Uganda’s diagnostic services infrastructure in
2018 and 2019 including the deployment of point-of-care (POC) diagnostics and
increased mentorship and technical support for laboratory staff which resulted
in improvement in treatment outcomes for people.
She however notes that during the two years of the diagnostics
check, they realized there is a lot of wastage since they were also tracking
commodities to see whether they are serviced or not.