Over 500,000 residents of Mayuge are receiving mass drug administration of Praziquantel and Albendazole to fight bilharzia and intestinal worms respectively under a three-year project, which is funded through Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA). This project aims at raising awareness about NTDs.
The exercise, that started on Tuesday across 512 villages, 13 Sub-counties and is being overseen in 42 health centres by about 1,074 village health teams [VHTs], will end on Thursday, while Friday has been gazetted for reporting.
According to Mr. Moses Arinaitwe, the programme officer, Bilharzia and Worm Control Programme in the Ministry of Health, Mayuge was selected because it has one of the highest prevalence rates of bilharzia and soil transmitted helminths .
“Bilharzia is most prevalent around water bodies and it is endemic in 90 districts though at different levels. In the eastern region, all districts bordering Lake Victoria are highly endemic,” he said.
About Shs1b is being spent on the exercise, according to Mr Bomax. This money will cater for drugs and snacks that will be given to the public.
“The cost of drugs and logistics including snacks is between Shs900m to Shs1b overall. We have procured some snacks for the children to fist consume as they can’t take the medication on an empty stomach,” he explained.
Mr Perez Bwire, a VHT at Musoli Beach village, Wairasa Sub-county in Mayuge district, said mass sensitization has been done and numbers are growing each day.
“People are no longer being forced to swallow medicine like before; once they return from tilling their gardens, they report to the drug administration centres on their own,” he said.
Mr. Mawazi Mukose, a VHT in Bukooli B village, Magamaga Town Council in Mayuge district, said he expects between 800 and 900 people from his area to embrace the exercise.
Earlier, the exercise was conducted in about 449 both private and government-aided schools, targeting 178,659 children.
Scientifically known as schistosomiasis, bilharzia is contracted when blood flukes enter the body by way of contact with infested surface water.