By Mike Sebalu
Medical experts have come out to explain the probable causes of the mysterious and sudden blindness reported in Kitgum district where a Senior Four student experienced temporary loss of sight while writing exams early this week.
On Monday, the Uganda National Examinations Board (UNEB) confirmed that this candidate reportedly went blind one and a half hours after she had started her first paper.
However, she later regained her sight after she was taken to a nearby hospital for first aid.
Dr. Richard Idro a Ugandan paediatric neurologist, and researcher at Makerere University College of Health attributes such a condition to what he calls conversion disorders, and not witchcraft as has been claimed by social media reports.
He adds that these are functional but not physical illnesses and that some patients present with paralysis, blindness and difficulty breathing among others but they eventually stop.
Dr. Idro explains such cases have become common, and he receives 2-3 every week.
He says that up to 70% of the reason are either home or school related.
“I see similar cases almost weekly mainly due to poor relationship with parents, absence of a father, fights between parents and the child is afraid the marriage may fail and family is split”, Dr. Idro told KFM.
He says that other cases may result from a teacher beating a child at school, tense environment at school due to exam pressure, lack of school fees, being dumped by a boyfriend or being bullied by fellow students, or even just being in boarding school away from family.