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November 6, 2015 
New National Survey Shows Declining Malaria Rates among Children in Uganda

KAMPALA, UGANDA. Uganda is winning the war against malaria, according to the newly released national survey results. Results show that about one in five children aged under five is infected with malaria. This represents a 50% decline since 2009 when more than 40% of children tested positive for the disease. "This is great news for Uganda, as the survey results show a reduced malaria burden on the nation," said Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, the Director General of Health Services in the Ministry of Health.

The 2014-15 Uganda Malaria Indicator Survey (UMIS) was undertaken by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics in conjunction with the National Malaria Control Programme of the Ministry of Health. Survey results show a marked decline in prevalence of the disease among children under five and major improvements in prevention and treatment.Nationwide, Malaria prevalence varies widely throughout Uganda, ranging from less than 1% in Kampala to a high of 36% in East Central Region. Malaria prevalence is 20% or higher in 5 of Uganda's 10 regions: East Central (36%), West Nile (28%), North East (27%), Central 2 (24%), and Mid North (20%). Rural children are three times as likely to be infected as urban children.

Expanded prevention practices account for the dramatic decline in malaria rates. Ownership of insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITNs) has increased dramatically in the last decade. Nine in 10 households now own an ITN compared to 47% in 2009 and 60% in 2011. Use of ITNs has surged upwards as well. About three-fourths of the high-risk groups—pregnant women and children under five—reported using an ITN the night before the survey. This represents an increase from just 10% in 2006.

Treatment of children with malaria is also improving, according to the survey. Almost one-third of children who had a fever in the two weeks before the survey had a blood test to check for malaria infection before treatment, as recommended by the Uganda Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization. Blood tests for children with fever have almost doubled since 2009. Among children who had a fever in the two weeks before the survey and who received an antimalarial, more than 85% were given artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT), the preferred regimen.

The UMIS collected data from a nationally representative survey of more than 5,300 women age 15-49.The 2014-15 UMIS was implemented by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) and the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) of the Uganda Ministry of Health from December 2014 to January 2015. The funding for the UMIS was provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID). ICF International provided technical assistance through The DHS Program, a USAID-funded project providing technical assistance in the implementation of population and health surveys in countries worldwide.