By DAVID SSEMPIJJA and WILFRED SSANYA
Lands, Housing and Urban Development Minister Daudi Migereko is spearheading a campaign seeking to upscale the fight against jiggers currently affecting a section of residents in Busoga region.
The minister revealed that jiggers are increasingly causing devastating effects on households leaving people unable to carry out their day to day activities, a case likely to escalate poverty in the region.
An outbrteak of tungiasis, a tropical parasitic skin disease commonly known as jiggers, killed atleast 20 Ugandans and took host in more than 20,000 people between February and March 2011.
Migereko added that some children had dropped out of school because of jigger infestations while many of those that can still brave to attend cannot concentrate while in class.
“We need more support from whoever can respond positively, jiggers are ravaging the health of our people, yet a country cannot achieve its development goals in a timely manner when part of its population is not productive,” he said.
Migereko was speaking at a ceremony during which Total Uganda and its affiliates Total E&P handed over a sh5.8m package worth of hygiene and sanitation items used in exterminating jiggers; the items will be used to salvage victims in Butembe County Jinja district.
The Managing Director Total Imrane Barry said that the company intervention in saving jigger victims will cover other areas like supporting public awareness campaigns about the causes, mode of spread and prevention of jiggers.
“It’s absurd that jiggers are affecting the young generation in which the country has more hope, this is why we have added momentum to the fight in addition to our other projects in areas like malaria, road safety and education,” he said.
The company general manager Loic Luarandel said that Total will make a follow up move to establish the impact of the company assistance on the ground, and find out the gaps that can be filled in due course.