Bushenyi and Mitooma Districts are now free of river blindness

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The Ministry of Health (MoH) Uganda and the Carter Centre, an International NGO, have announced that Bushenyi and Mitooma districts are now free of river blindness. This is a major milestone in the fight against this debilitating disease, which affects millions of people around the world.

River blindness is caused by a parasite that is transmitted by bites from female infected black flies. The flies breed in fast-flowing rivers, which is why the disease is often found in rural areas.

In Bushenyi and Mitooma districts, the MoH and the Carter Centre worked together to implement a comprehensive program to eliminate river blindness. This program included:

  • Mass treatment of the local population with drugs that kill the parasite.
  • Education and awareness campaigns to teach people about the disease and how to prevent it.
  • Chemical treatment of rivers to kill the black flies.

As a result of these efforts, there have been no new cases of river blindness in Bushenyi and Mitooma districts since 2015. This means that the two districts are now free from this disease.

Irene Namuyimba, the Spokesperson of Carter Centre, said that the Carter Centre is committed to continuing to support the MoH until river blindness is totally wiped out of Uganda.

“We started this war in 1991 and we shall end it together,” Namuyimba said. “As Carter Centre, we are committed to support Uganda until this infection is wiped out.”

Dr. Edward Mwesigye, the District Health Officer of Bushenyi District, said that the district is proud to be the first in Uganda to be declared free of river blindness.

“We managed to eradicate this infection through massive treatment of the locals, where we vaccinated them door to door and also mobilized and educated our communities on this disease,” Mwesigye said. “We also worked with Village Health Teams (VHTs) to get to the source of the parasite and poured chemicals that killed the flies that were breeding in the rivers.”

The elimination of river blindness in Bushenyi and Mitooma districts is a major victory in the fight against this disease. It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the MoH, the Carter Centre, and the local communities. This success should give hope to other countries that are battling river blindness.

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