David Okello, the District Vector Control Officer says they have received enough drugs from World Vision Uganda to be administered to persons who have never received any kind of treatment against Bilharzia.
The Ministry of Health has started mass treatment of Bilharzia in Oyam district following the recent outbreak that claimed 12 lives. The outbreak was confirmed in early March after rapid diagnostic screening tests conducted in Aber, Aleka, Otwal and Minakulu sub counties.
A sample test of ten people in Otwal confirmed at least eight of them were positive to bilharzia. The most affected areas were Okii, Ader and Amukugungu parishes where communities were sharing water from a dam infested with snails.
Bilharzia, also known as snail fever, is a human disease spread through direct contact with contaminated fresh water where certain types of water snail live. Although bilharzia is not immediately fatal, untreated bilharzia may cause life-threatening urinary system or liver damage, bladder tumors and bowel cancer. It also leads to reduced growth and cognitive development in children.
David Okello, the District Vector Control Officer says they have received enough drugs from World Vision Uganda to be administered to persons who have never received any kind of treatment against Bilharzia. The drive is targeting a total of 163, 994 people in four sub counties.
This will complement initial drugs dispatched to the district by the Ministry of Health. Okello adds that the District Health Department has also embarked on health education and mass sensitization campaigns on Bilharzia.
In 2005, the Bilharzia and Worm Control Programme conducted a mass drug administration exercise in 27 disease-prone districts around Lake Victoria, Lake Kyoga, Lake Albert, the Nile basin and the crater lakes region in western Uganda. It is estimated that approximately 3.6 million children and adults received treatment.