Culture and Society
It follows reports that in most area lightning victims are treated using traditional methods, which include the use of human excreta.
Health experts have asked government to promote community awareness of lightning and its effect. It follows reports that in most area lightning victims are treated using traditional methods, which include the use of human excreta.
Immaculate Aketch an epidemiologist at the African Field Epidemiology Network says that in other areas victims have their property confiscated.
She says that a team from Ministry of Health that was sent to investigate the health impacts of lighting discovered, that most communities still associate ridiculous myths and carry out weird practices after an incident. Some local communities believe that lighting is caused by a cock, an angle from heaven, a dead spirit and is a punishment for deceitful swearing. In Northern Uganda people killed by lightning are buried far away from home especially near water streams.
It’s claimed that it protects the rest of the family from being hit in another thunderstorm occurrence. Some families whose livestock have been hit by lighting are warned that if they eat the meat, they shall again be struck by lightning thus the meat is given to other members of the community. The health experts also discovered that those with medical related injuries are told to see traditional healers because if injected, they shall die.
//Cue in: If you go to Northern Uganda…”
Cue out:…dint smear them with feaces.”//
Last year between June and July, 45 deaths and 155 injuries were recorded from nine most affected districts in Uganda.
These included Zombo, Oyam, Namutumba, Kiryadongo, Buikwe, Jinja, Arua, Alebtong and Nebbi districts. Most of the victims were students aged between 10 to 19 years. Kiryadongo was the most affected with 19 deaths and 53 injuries.
Some of the health effects of lighting include burns, loss of teeth, sight, limbs and memory, stroke and death. Other social economic effects include induced anxiety which lead to school drops outs and running away from burial sites. The risk factors of lighting include rain water harvesting, sheltering under tress during thunderstorms, walking barefooted and connecting clothe wire lines to a house.
Despite myths surrounding it, lighting has been attributed to increasing environmental degradation coupled with energy connects. Aketch warns that while tall trees protect homes without lighting conductors, they can also be a danger.
//Cue in: Trees are risk, because…”
Cue out:… being struck by lightning.”//
They are now calling on government to monitor traditional herbalists and ensure rubber shoes are part of the school uniform. According to the African Field Epidemiology Network, globally lightening kills between 1000 to 1500 people annually.
immaculate aketch an epidemiologist at the african field epidemiology network
lighting and its effects
cultural myths and practices on lighting