PADER district Hepatitis E task force has resolved to arrest heads of families that do not have pit- latrine. The deputy resident district commissioner, Sylvester Opira, who chairs the task force, said the measure, which is meant to control the spread of the hepatitis virus, becomes effective on May 4.
Those who will be arrested, Opira said, would be prosecuted. Opira said since the outbreak of the virus in the district last year, the district leaders and development partners had been sensitising the people on the contribution of poor hygiene to the spread of the disease, but many were not heeding the advice.
Speaking to The New Vision in Pader last week, Opira said since the campaign for good hygiene started last year, the number of pit-latrine had only increased from 24% to 30%.
Opira revealed that the cumulative cases of Hepatitis E in Kitgum district had risen from 9,211 to 9,912 with 156 deaths.
Officials attributed the increase to the resumption of the rainy season, saying it worsens the already poor sanitation in the area. He noted that new cases of Hepatitis E were reported in Lukung, Mucwini and Layamo sub-counties because people dispose of human waste in the open.
According to the World Health Organisation, the virus is transmitted through eating food or drinking water contaminated with faecal material. â€œThe virus is hard to contain in areas with poor sanitasion and lack safe drinking water. Most of the measures we have undertaken are community-based,â€ a World Health Organisation official based in Gulu said recently.
Opira appealed to the community to cooperate with the village health team to identify families without latrines. Hepatitis symptoms include fever, headache, yellow eyes and passing of yellow urine, general body weakness and muscle pains.
Pader family heads face arrest for lack of latrines