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The online version of this article (https://doi.org/10.1186/s12936-018-2312-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Electronic reporting of routine health facility data in Uganda began with the adoption of the District Health Information Software System version 2 (DHIS2) in 2011. This has improved health facility reporting and overall data quality. In this study, the effects of case management with artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) and vector control interventions on space–time patterns of disease incidence were determined using DHIS2 data reported during 2013–2016.
Bayesian spatio-temporal negative binomial models were fitted on district-aggregated monthly malaria cases, reported by two age groups, defined by a cut-off age of 5 years. The effects of interventions were adjusted for socio-economic and climatic factors. Spatial and temporal correlations were taken into account by assuming a conditional autoregressive and a first-order autoregressive AR(1) process on district and monthly specific random effects, respectively. Fourier trigonometric functions were incorporated in the models to take into account seasonal fluctuations in malaria transmission.
The temporal variation in incidence was similar in both age groups and depicted a steady decline up to February 2014, followed by an increase from March 2015 onwards. The trends were characterized by a strong bi-annual seasonal pattern with two peaks during May–July and September-December. Average monthly incidence in children < 5 years declined from 74.7 cases (95% CI 72.4–77.1) in 2013 to 49.4 (95% CI 42.9–55.8) per 1000 in 2015 and followed by an increase in 2016 of up to 51.3 (95% CI 42.9–55.8). In individuals ≥ 5 years, a decline in incidence from 2013 to 2015 was followed by an increase in 2016. A 100% increase in insecticide-treated nets (ITN) coverage was associated with a decline in incidence by 44% (95% BCI 28–59%). Similarly, a 100% increase in ACT coverage reduces incidence by 28% (95% BCI 11–45%) and 25% (95% BCI 20–28%) in children < 5 years and individuals ≥ 5 years, respectively. The ITN effect was not statistically important in older individuals. The space–time patterns of malaria incidence in children < 5 are similar to those of parasitaemia risk predicted from the malaria indicator survey of 2014–15.
The decline in malaria incidence highlights the effectiveness of vector-control interventions and case management with ACT in Uganda. This calls for optimizing and sustaining interventions to achieve universal coverage and curb reverses in malaria decline.