Communities in Uganda are at the forefront of efforts to end Schistosomiasis

Nyende is a Village Health Team Worker in Buwaiswa, Uganda. He’s one of the health professionals who work with in the Ministry of Health to deliver health education messages to the communities.

The livelihoods of the people in Buwaiswa include agriculture and fishing and farming, both of which require access to water. However, many waters in Buwaiswa are infected with parasites due to insufficient sanitation and water services which puts the communities of this village at danger of Schistosomiasis (bilharzia).

“In Buwaiswa, people get bilharzia in the water because the majority of people are fishermen however, some cultivate tomatoes, rice and yams along the shores of the lake. If the parasites of bilharzia are present in the waters, they become sick .”

In this community of rural people that is affected, the cost of illness is high. In Uganda there are around 1.75 millions people not receiving treatment and more than two million are at risk of the re-infection.

“Bilharzia has affected this region through bringing about poverty, since they have to draw on their savings to pay for their treatment. Parents are sending their children to schools that aren’t up to standards due to the fact that any funds they have is used for treatments “.

However, through the Ministry of Health, Nyende has been trained to guide individuals on how to avoid this illness.

“As VHT Coordinator, VHT Co-ordinator, I advise individuals to construct latrines and use them in a safe manner. People should not swim or farming in the wetlands, or taking a bath without gumboots since these are the ways that we could contract the bilharzia. I’m asking the government as well as non-governmental organizations to help us by spreading awareness about this issue so that people can better be aware of how to avoid contracting the bilharzia.”

Unlimit Health works to end the spread of parasites by working with health ministries in countries affected by the disease, such as Uganda.

In the year 2000, Unlimit Health worked with the Uganda Ministry of Health and RANAS Ltd to conduct an pilot program in Buwaiswa and other communities nearby to discover the causes specific to communities of the transmission of schistosomiasis.

The outcomes will be used for the implementation of community-driven solutions, such as sanitation and water services to lower the chance of contracting diseases within the first community of six, and with a the intention to increase the number of communities later on.

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