Jiggers Overrun Remote Lamwo Village

2734 Views Lamwo, Uganda
Jiggers have invaded Lumwaka village in the remote Agoro sub-county in Lamwo district. Residents of the Lumwaka say that without a health center, medical workers and abject poverty in all homesteads, the jigger invasion grows day by day. Lumwaka village is located close to the Uganda-Sudan border. During the war fought by the Lord's Resistance Army it was frequently hit by the rebels. The LRA used Lumwaka mountains to cross over into neighboring trading centers, robbing and killing people as their battle progressed. To stop the invasion, the Uganda People's Defense Forces planted landmines in fields and along riverbanks in the villages. The Landmine and Cluster Munitions Monitor says civilians were the largest casualties and to date, people are afraid of tilling their fields in case the unexploded landmines hit them. This, coupled with years of life in camps, crippled the population of Lumwaka that was already quite poor before the war begun. Wilfred Ojara, a teacher at Lumwaka Primary School, says most of his students are at the mercy of the jiggers. He says they are victims of poor hygiene, ignorance and a non-existent health sector in the village. //Cue in: "We have here ..." Cue out: "... had it already."// Samuel Otto Okot's feet are dotted with jiggers. He wants district leaders in Lamwo to pay more attention to his plight and demands for assistance from the LC3 officials in Agoro. Okot says the leaders cannot understand his condition because for the past year they have not set foot in Lumwaka. Ben Owali, the LC3 chairperson of Agoro, admits that he heard of the jigger infestation in Lumwaka for the first time this week. However, he is quick to blame someone else for this. Owali says it is the responsibility of lower local council officials in the countryside to inform him of the shortage of safe water sources and the absence of health facilities in Lumwaka. Ignorance of the troubles of the people continues all the way to the Lamwo district headquarters. Dr. Charles Oyoo, the District Health Officer, says when he visited Lumwaka on November 20th he wasn't informed of any problems. He says he will sent a disease surveillance team to the area to assess the gravity of the problem. The Lamwo Community Development Officer, Jakeo Ocan, says there is little the district can do for the people of Lumwaka at this time. He says that because of the large number of landmines in the village, it is hard for district teams to visit the area and to provide comprehensive services to residents. ###