Malaria situation and response

Malaria is one of the largest causes of morbidity and mortality in Uganda. The disease leads to serious losses in productivity and quality of life.

Malaria is highly endemic in 95% of Uganda, with approximately 90% of the estimated 37.5 million population at risk from Plasmodium falciparum (100% of cases). P. vivax is also present but is not currently responsible for reported cases of malaria. In some areas of northern Uganda, the entomological inoculation rates (infective biting rates by the mosquitoes that transmit malaria) have been among the highest recorded in the world.

The remaining 5% of the country consists of areas with lower instances of transmission such as in the highlands of the south and west, on the eastern border with Kenya as well as the north eastern border with South Sudan. These areas, however, are prone to sporadic epidemics of the disease. Throughout the country, the mean temperature and rainfall allow for high levels of vector propagation and continual malaria transmission.

Worldwide, children and pregnant women are the worst affected by malaria. This means that controlling malaria in Uganda is a significant challenge, as over half of the population is under 15 years of age. Malaria, diarrhoea and pneumonia continue to be the most common causes of death in children under five years in the country. According to the Ministry of Health, malaria accounts for 25 to 40% of outpatient visits to health facilities and is responsible for nearly half of inpatient paediatric deaths.

National Malaria Control Programme

The Uganda Government is responsible for the Malaria Control Programme (MCP) that focuses on policy and implementation, and the coordination of the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) partnership. The MCP was established in 1995 by the Ministry of Health to direct and guide the implementation of the National Malaria Control Strategy, through: setting standards and quality assurance; resource mobilization; capacity development and technical support; epidemic control, including indoor residual spraying (IRS); coordination of malaria research and monitoring and evaluation.

A core part of the MCP is prevention, advocacy and treatment. Since 2006, the Government has made a significant effort with the support of its partners to increase prevention measures. Over 40% of the population had access to an insecticide treated net (ITN) in 2011. ITNs and long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) continue to be distributed free of charge.

Yet, the country faces many challenges in improving the public health system. Uganda has poor health status indicators, with low quality of health care compounded by an inefficient delivery system. Weaknesses in donor aid coordination and a lack of leadership at the district level create further challenges in controlling malaria.

However, commentators on the future of health care in Uganda highlight a strength of the Ugandan health system: the network of health services at a community level through the village health teams.

In 2014, the Global Fund will support the Uganda Malaria Indicator Survey that will provide national and regional-level coverage and impact data on the main malaria interventions as well as biomarkers for anaemia and parasite prevalence in children under five years of age.

Another major donor and partner in malaria control in Uganda is the United States of America President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI). It aims to assist Uganda in achieving the following targets by the end of 2014:

  • Ensure over 90% of households with a pregnant woman and/or children under five will own at least one ITN.
  • 85% of children under five will have slept under an ITN the previous night.
  • 85% of pregnant women will have slept under an ITN the previous night.
  • 85% of houses in geographic areas targeted for IRS will have been sprayed.
  • 85% of pregnant women and children under five will have slept under an ITN the previous night or in a house that has been protected by IRS.
  • 85% of women who have completed a pregnancy in the last two years will have received two or more doses of intermittent preventative therapy (IPTp) during that pregnancy.
  • 85% of government health facilities have ACTs available for treatment of uncomplicated malaria.
  • 85% of children under five with suspected or confirmed malaria will have received treatment with ACTs within 24 hours of onset of their symptoms.

RBM partners' activities

Malaria endemic countries

Multilateral development partners



Research and academia

Private sector

OECD donor countries

In the news

Mind the gap: House structure and the risk of malaria in Uganda

25 February 2015, 3:43 pm

An analysis of housing construction and malaria risk in Uganda found that the odds of malaria infection in children were substantially lower in modern residences compared to more traditional structures.

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Drugs stock-out worries Luweero in Uganda

11 January 2015, 5:19 pm

Without coartem, an effective malaria-treating drug, in Kasana health centre IV, the main government medical facility in Luweero, residents are really worried.

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Ranbaxy gets nod to sell drug treating malaria in 7 African nations

15 December 2014, 2:32 pm

Drug manufacturer Ranbaxy Laboratories said that it has received regulatory approval to launch its new chemical entity (NCE) Synriam in seven African countries namely Nigeria, Uganda, Senegal, Cameroon, Guinea, Kenya and Ivory Coast.

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Results of two studies of using a combination of azithromycin and chloroquine to treat uncomplicated P.falciparum malaria

25 November 2014, 7:32 am

Given increasing rates of resistance to existing therapy, new options for treatment and prophylaxis of malaria are needed. This study concluded: Among adults with symptomatic uncomplicated falciparum malaria in Africa, the combination of AZ 1,000 mg and CQ 600-mg base once daily for three days resulted in Day-28 PCR-corrected parasitological clearance rates of >=98% and was non-inferior to treatment with MQ.

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Uganda: Indoor residual spraying project launched in Lango, Bukedi & Teso sub-regions

2 November 2014, 8:16 pm

This is a project that is being implemented by ABT Associates with funding from PMI and DFID. The ceremony was officiated by the Minister of Health in Charge of Primary Health Care, Hon. Sarah Opendi.

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Uganda: Reducing malaria deaths in infants

18 August 2014, 11:32 am

By Flavia Nassaka In the sector performance report released last year by the Ministry of Health, Malaria was ranked the number one

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  • Malaria situation and response
  • Funding shortfalls
  • RBM partners' activities
  • In the news