Factors that influence the variation of malaria incidences for local specific administration units in Bushenyi District, Uganda.
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Spatial Epidemiology of diseases is an area that has been studied broadly considering large geographical areas (regions, countries and districts) but little is known with reference to small geographical areas (Subcounties). Malaria is one disease that is still a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Uganda. This study focuses on factors that influence the variation of malaria incidences for a small geographical area in Mitooma District; which was recently curved out of Bushenyi District. Using the old Bushenyi District boundaries as the study area, the study was done so as to establish whether malaria incidences are a result of scale differences (geographical size); socio-cultural or economic risk factors and/or a result of variation in seasons. There have been limited spatial (scale) studies for small geographical areas. The study used secondary data (malaria incidence levels) collected by the Makerere-IDRC Malaria project from Mutara Sub-county in 2004, as well as primary data. In the present study the closest points of plants/ bushy vegetation to the homesteads were mapped and buffered to establish scale differences in the study Communities of Nyakizinga and Ryakitanga in Mutara sub-county. Socio-cultural and economic data were collected for quality of housing, income, gender, individual floor space and time of window/door closing in the household. The data was collected using field observations, counts, measurements and a questionnaire. Pearson Correlation and the Z-test were respectively used to determine relationships and seasonal variation in the study area. The study showed that the risk factors studied, quality of housing, income, gender, individual floor space and time of window/door closing had no significant correlation (P<0.05) to malaria incidences. The time of window/door closing had a weak correlation. Variation in seasons and malaria incidences was established as significant (P<0.05, Z= 1.959). Conclusively malaria incidences for small geographical areas are interdependently influenced by seasonal variations, socio-cultural and economic conditions. It is however recommended that further research be carried out with regard to these attributes.