FOURTEEN people have suffered acid attacks since the year began, according to the 4th annual report of the Uganda Acid Survivorsâ€™ Association.
The report added that the figure constitutes close to half the number of people who were attacked last year, indicating a rise in the incidents. In 2006, the report noted, 34 people were disfigured and the number rose by five in 2007.
During a visit by The New Vision to Mulago Hospital last week, a one-year-old childâ€™s wails tore through the Intensive Care Unit early. Next to the child is his mother, also in pain, their faces covered with burns.
Margaret Nakiyimba and her son are lying among other 12 patients who were recently attacked with acid. Nakiyimba said her co-wife waylaid them one morning as she was setting off for the garden with the young boy on her back.
â€œShe was carrying something in a cup. I did not know it was acid. No one deserves this kind of attack,â€ she said.
Nakiyimba is part of the 309 people that have suffered acid attacks in the last 15 years, according to the report, which noted that other cases were not reported. It shows that women are the most affected at 54.6%, compared to men and most of the victims are between 25 to 45 years.
The attacks are attributed to love relationships gone bad, jealousy, hatred, property conflicts or business rivalry.
Acid melts the human flesh and can cause death. The assailants mainly use sulfuric or hydrochloric acid which can burn through the skin, muscle and even bones According to the report, about 12% of acid attacks were fatal.
In Uganda, the medical remedy for acid survivors is limited. Most of the patients are referred to Mulago Hospital, which has opened a specialised burns unit, the only one in East Africa.
The victims need specialised plastic surgery and several operations which can cost up to $10,000 (sh16m), which many cannot afford.
Acid attacks on the rise, says new report