Apuuli, a resident of Nkoma sub-county in Kamwenge district, paid sh300 for a cup of cold porridge (obushera) at a market but the result was worse than the hunger he was trying to alleviate
Apuuli, a resident of Nkoma sub-county in Kamwenge district, paid sh300 for a cup of cold porridge (obushera) at a market but the result was worse than the hunger he was trying to alleviate.
A day after, he would run to the bush over 50 times a day, passing out faeces with blood.
His tummy ached and he felt weak. Within a few days some of his relatives had contracted the same disease â€“â€“ bacillary dysentery.
By the end of September, at least four people in Kamwenge had died and 24 were taken ill, according to a report compiled by disease investigators from the Ministry of Health.
The disease was continuing to spread. Most of the victims were men.
â€œKamwenge is currently experiencing an outbreak of bacilliary dysentery and not cholera as earlier reported in the press. The epidemic is continuing to spread,â€ the report said.
The epidemic has mostly affected the sub-counties of Bwizi, Nkoma and Kahunge. One of the victims was a school Parents Teachersâ€™ Association (PTA) chairman, who contracted the disease by eating food served at a funeral.
The report blames the epidemic on dirty human dwellings, lack of safe water sources, bad eating habits such as drinking cold porridge in market places. Other causes cited include bathing and washing clothes in rivers where people draw water for domestic use, and sharing water sources with animals.
According to the report, the district health team had begun mobilising the communities, educating them on how to avoid catching the disease, but this had not yet made enough impact. In most places, people were aware of the causes of dysentery but had not yet changed their behaviours to match their knowledge. They were advised to avoid defecating in the bush, to always wash their hands after coming out of a latrine, to avoid cold drinks and foods sold at market places, and boil their water before drinking it.
Dr. Charles Mugero, the Principal Medical Officer in-charge of diarrhoea diseases, said they recommended more community mobilisation programmes offered at peopleâ€™s homes, at meetings, on local radios and done by local leaders. They also suggested the closure of markets that do not have latrines, suspension of cooked food vending, and construction of latrines in all households.
The Ministry of Health has dispatched treatment guidelines and held refresher courses to enable local health workers handle the situation. They also recommended provision of safe water and emphasis on hygiene.
Dysentery hits Kamwenge