Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Uganda: What causes Jiggers?

By Esther Nakkazi

In the eastern part of Uganda, live the Basoga, a Bantu group who speak Lusoga. Lately, the media have been awash with the Basoga being infected with jiggers. Recently, a three months baby died of jiggers according to the local press.

The mystery of the cause of jiggers has been politicised and even exaggerated. While the medics attribute jiggers to poor hygiene especially for people sharing accommodation with animals, economists say it is due to chronic poverty - after all research shows that the highest poverty density in Uganda is in Busoga.

The politicians have blamed jiggers on political discrimination in the area by the ruling government. The religious people have said God is angry with the Basoga so the jiggers are a punishment while traditionists are convinced that wizards are active in that area. Some myths have suggested that the jiggers attack mentally retarded people.

Now the environmentalists headed by (Dr. Afunaduula) say we need an environmental approach to eradicate them. However, in the old times, even today the herbalists recommend that after extraction, they put red chilies (pepper) in the wound.

In an effort to eradicate them many volunteers have been to the jigger infested areas and their approach is to help extract them from feet, hands, and bodies of course with cameras recording their good works. But nothing has worked.

Although floods of people showed up to be treated, some schools refused their pupils to go saying it would bring shame to the school!

At the campaign led by the deputy speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, a Musoga who comes from eastern Uganda, villagers were treated and taught good hygiene practices like smearing cow dung on the walls and floor of their mud houses.

Cleary something needs to be done about these jiggers killing people in this century! But it is a question of good hygiene and that does not need much debate and unfounded myths. 

1 comment:

  1. ALso, to teach them how to build their houses and the way of smearing cow dung on the walls and floor of their mud houses. To encourage them to be smearing their house twice in a month.


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