PAKWACH. District health officers (DHOs) in West Nile have attributed the challenges in managing the high malaria infection rate among pregnant women in the region to inadequate logistical support.

The medics were responding to the national findings that ranked West Nile the second-worst region in the fight against malaria with 22 per cent after Karamonja which stands at 33 per cent.

While presenting the state of malaria among pregnant women in Pakwach district, Mr Patrick Bugoma, an official from the ministry of health said in the month of July 2018, the infection rate increased from 5, 957 to 8, 576 in July 2019 constituting 44 per cent of the infection rate among expectant mothers.

He said Nebbi, Zombo, Yumbe, and Arua are among the districts with the increasing burden of malaria infections during pregnancy.

Mr Filbert Nyeko, the head of West Nile DHOs said the region is disadvantaged with limited resource allocation to address the challenge, especially during referrals.

He said the gap between the legislature and the community is a huge factor that needs urgent attention.

"The news of the Ebola outbreak in our country compelled our government to lobby for funds. Our MPs should also prioritize malaria issue with urgent attention", Nyeko said.

Ms Ann Adunia, the assistant district health officer in charge of maternal health in Pakwach appealed for special accreditation of health facilities with a high number of refugees by lobbying for nongovernmental organizations to recruit support staff to handle the staff gaps in refugee-hosting districts.

She added that well-established structures with skilled, dedicated and highly motivated workforce should be advocated to enable midwives to deliver goals set by each district.

Mr Justine Okwairwoth, the Nebbi general hospital medical superintendent said the slow response by the health ministry in delivery requires support since it is slowing the pace of achieving malaria fight in most West Nile districts.

He said cases of high patient turnover have persistently affected malaria drugs supplied by the national medical store (NMS) to hospitals thus calling for adjustment resulting from the pressure from the population.

“With the expected rain, we are appealing for enhancement in advocacy to reach the community on the relevance of sleeping under treated mosquito nets; both the expectant mothers and the family members in order to scale down the malaria-related deaths”, Okwairwoth said.

Mr Mayor Buga, the Arua district secretary for social services said the ministry has failed through the national drug authority (NDA) to regulate quack medical personnel giving false malaria tests to extort money from the public.

Buga called for punitive measures against health impostors whom he said use expired malaria testing reagents to make money from the poor.

Dr Martin Ssenyondo from the ministry of health asked the district officials to desist from the sale of malaria drugs and other related medical logistics.

"All of you should be watchful over what quantity of drugs delivered in your districts and don't steal from the sick," he warned.

He said the ministry of health is in the final process of dispatching a consignment of mosquito nets in all the districts but urged expectant mothers to routinely attend antenatal services so that they can receive nets on their visits and drugs to fight malaria.