Ten More people Die of Hepatitis E in Kitgum

1242 Views Kitgum, Uganda
Ten more people have died of Hepatitis E in Kitgum in the past two months. The Hepatitis E cases, which had reduced considerably seem to be on the rise again. 21 new cases have been recorded over the past two weeks. Most affected areas are Kitgum town council, Lokung, Amida and Kitgum Matidi sub counties. The residents are accusing the laxity of the health officials for the resurgence of the new cases. Alfred Okello a resident of Dure in Amida Sub County says officials' dwindling performance in the fight against the virus is evident in the limited visits by health officials to check the cleanliness of the villages. Okello says the numerous spot messages that used to run on radio are no more, which according to him, has made people to relax. Francis Ocii a resident of Kitgum town says the poor implementation of by-laws is another cause for the persistence of the epidemic. Ocii says that by-laws against brewing Kwete and non use of latrines are good by laws, but are not being implemented by the concerned authorities. In July, over 30 people were arrested and subjected to community work for not having latrines, but the exercise has since stopped. But Tony Tolit the secretary for health denied the claim that officials have become reluctant. Tolit says the sensitization against the hepatitis has been decentralized at the sub county levels because district officials can't afford to move to the villages. He says it is now the responsibility of the local councilors, and sub county chiefs to take up the tasks at the villages. Tolit argues that health messages and education on the dangers of hepatitis are not just being practiced by the community. He says in Lokung many of the population are still living in the squalid conditions of the camps, and engaging in businesses like brewing Kwete, using unsafe water and roasting maize. //Cue in: iThere is maize roasting nowadays#i// Tolit says there has by-law on people without latrines, has led to some improvement in the latrine coverage in the district to 35%. //Cue in: iOur coverage is now#i Cue out: i# from 35 to 45 percent.i// Hepatitis E has claimed 176 lives and left 10674 sick, since it hit the district in October 2007.