Witchcraft or Laboratory Diagnosis: The story of Immaculate Nabatanzi- Sembabule District

On June 30th, 2005 President Bush pledged to increase U.S funding of malaria prevention and treatment in Sub-saharan Africa (SSA) by more than $1.2 billion for the subsequent 5 years. The U.S President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) was designed to reduce malaria deaths and illnesses in target countries within SSA with a long-term vision of a malaria-free world.

Ms Immaculate Nabatanzi, a resident of Migulu Village in Ssembabule District Western Uganda is a beneficiary of the President’s Malaria Initiative. Not long ago, she almost ran out of options and resorted to witchcraft. Immaculate is a mother of four young children. 

Immaculate had travelled many times covering more than 30 kilometres to seek healthcare for her children. Unfortunately, her two younger children, 2 months old and 2 years old, just never received the right diagnosis from the nearby health facility.

This resulted in both children constantly having fevers and general body weaknesses and high temperatures. Immaculate now resorts to consulting her local pharmacist who made prescriptions for the children without any diagnostic test. The fevers persisted.

Her husband withholds financial support for the children’s treatment because all previous visits and medication had not yielded good health for the children.

Immaculate decided to confide in a friend who encouraged her to try out the Ssembabule Health Centre IV (HCIV) facility. This was no small task, 32 Kilometers away from home and a huge financial demand for transport and the opportunity cost of what else Immaculate could have been doing.

She made the trip that turned out to be not only a health saver for her children but also a better option for her social status. At Ssembabule HCIV, she was attended to by a Medical Doctor who examined both children and requested some laboratory tests to be done. 

Immaculate’s wait time seemed to have flown past her so fast she actually expressed the fact that the test results had come back quicker than she was used to. Back in the Doctor’s office, it was explained that the children had been suffering from low-grade Malaria (+). Once again, medication was prescribed, which she collected from the pharmacy on her way out.

Almost a week later, both kids show signs of returning to good health. To Immaculate’s relief, she says 

“I am happy that my children are healed, and I thank my friend and the health workers at Ssembabule HCIV for their good work. The good health of my children has saved my marriage and my relationship with my Mother-In-Law.”

With support from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention Uganda, AGHPF has supported the Government of Uganda to have another 14 laboratories internationally accredited to ISO 15189:2012 for Medical Laboratories bringing the total number of Internationally accredited laboratories to 25.

This graph shows the total number (14) of Laboratories supported by AGHPF to attain International Accreditation and the number of people with access to reliable and timely services provided by the laboratories over the last four years