Treatment Eludes Communities Suffering from Neglected Tropical Diseases

1345 Views Fort Portal, Uganda

In short
Norman Barungi, a resident of Kakinga village in Rwimi Sub County in Kabarole district is a victim of Trachoma.

Communities in the Tooro region are struggling to get treatment for neglected tropical diseases-NTDs. Diseases such as elephantiasis, Trachoma and intestinal worms, are common in Kabarole, Kamwenge and Kyenjojo districts especially in rural areas with limited access to safe water and poor sanitation. 
In January, the districts distributed free drugs such as Azythromicin, Ivermectine and Albendazole to communities to stop elephantiasis, Trachoma and intestinal worms respectively. However since then, residents have not received any treatment.
They argue that they can't afford the price of the drugs on the open market. James Irumba, a resident of Rwimi Sub County in Kabarole district, says that many people suffering from elephantiasis can't afford treatment in private health facilities. He says that free drug distribution will go a long way to protect several families.

//Cue in "can't afford…
Cue out "… at a risk."//

Norman Barungi, a resident of Kakinga village in Rwimi Sub County in Kabarole district is a victim of Trachoma. Barungi says that his condition has not been stable since the last distribution of free drugs. He adds that he is so poor to afford Azythromicin drugs which cost Shillings 10,000 in private pharmacies
//Cue in: "not feeling okay…
Cue out: "…medicine in hospitals."//
Moses Ajuna, a Village Health Team-VHT member in Rwimi Sub County, says lack of drugs in health centers forces many residents to resort to herbs to treat cases like trachoma.  
Richard Asimwe, the Rwenzori regional Vector Control Officer says districts are yet to receive more drugs from the Ministry of Health. Charles Lwanga, a senior entomologist at the Vector Control Division, Ministry of Health says that free distribution of drugs in the region will be rolled out in two months. 

He explains that the ministry is still distributing drugs in the East and Northern parts of the country. The World Health Organization (who) estimates that more than 1 billion people making one-sixth of the world's population suffer from one or more NTDs.
They cause severe pain, long-term disability and affect learning in children. According to a report by Erasmus University, Sub-Saharan Africa could save US Dollars 52 billion by 2030 if the region meets the World Health Organization (WHO)'s 2020 control and elimination targets for the NTDs.
In 2012, Ministry of Health drafted a five year strategic plan to scale up control and elimination efforts of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in the Country. NTDs covered under the strategic plan include lymphatic filariasis, (elephanitiasis, hydroceles) River Blindness, Bilharzia, common intestinal worms and Trachoma.


About the author

Emmanuel Kajubu
Emmanuel Kajubu is proud to have been the first Ugandan journalist to write in depth pieces about the Tooro Kingdom institution. His knowledge of the inner workings of the Tooro Kingdom is what made him privy to the splits in the royal family. These splits almost challenged Tooro Omukama Oyo Nyimba Iguru's reign.

Culture, agriculture and the environment are just two areas of many of interest to Kajubu. As long as he has held a pen, Kajubu has also written about public policy, health and crime.

Kajubu is keen on impacting his society not just as a writer but also a trainer and mentor. Bundibugyo and Ntoroko districts fall under his docket. Kajubu has been a URN staff member since 2008.