Health experts have called on the public to take note of the similarities between malaria and Covid-19 symptoms so as to respond timely with the necessary measures like visiting a health facility, taking blood tests and following the subsequent advise from the medical personnel.
According to Dr Daniel Kyabayinze, the Ministry of Health technical person, other diseases need to be attended to amid the pandemic, especially malaria. He explained that some symptoms of malaria are the same as those of covid-19.
“It is very unfortunate that many diseases have been over shadowed because of wanting to respond to the pandemic. However, Malaria presents with a fever. So, when someone gets malaria, they get fever, headaches joint pains, pains in the eye brows, lose appetite, they sweat. Some feel the inability to do anything, feel lazy and some get convulsions while others vomit. All this spectrum of symptoms and signs can also be seen in patients of covid-19,” he said.
The best way to differentiate between early signs of Covid-19 and malaria, Dr. Kyabayinze said, is to get a blood test, use a microscope or go have a Rapid Diagnostic Test done to confirm if one has malaria.
“If you have malaria, then you can go ahead and get it treated, if you don’t have malaria, you will have to be investigated for covid-19,” he noted.
He, however, pointed out that covid-19 has other symptoms which are not related to malaria such as breathing problems, muscle pains, chest pain, loss of smell and taste among others.
The doctor encouraged people to be more cautious as the two can be prevented and that government has put in place measures to end malaria in Uganda, much as it is still grappling with the prevailing pandemic.
For both diseases, he emphasized, there are barriers and messages; Covid-19 can be prevented through adhering to Standard Operating Procedures like wearing face masks, social distancing, washing hands while malaria can be prevented by sleeping under treated mosquito nets.
“As you get the mosquito nets, utilise them to prevent malaria. In all government hospitals, there is treatment of malaria. We have given out anti-malarials and even in the private sector, we have a subsidized anti-malarial. We have also given nets to hospitals for pregnant women,” he said.