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 daily newspapers.
The medical world is attributing the jiggers to poor hygiene like sharing accommodation with animals while economists say it is due to chronic poverty. Research shows that the highest poverty density in Uganda is in Busoga.
The politicians have blamed jiggers on political discrimination of the area by the ruling government. The religious people have said God is angry with the Basoga so the jiggers are a punishment while the traditionists are convinced that wizards are active in the area, the people have been bewitched! Some myths have suggested that the jiggers attack mentally retarded people.
Now the environmentalists (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 chillies (pepper) in the wound. Volunteers have been to the jigger infested areas to help extract them from feet, hands and bodies sometimes of the victims. Unfortunately, they have not been warned of the safety of sterilizing equipment so safety pins and nail cutters were shared.
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 Rebecca Kadaga, a musoga who comes from eastern Uganda, villagers were treated and taught good hygiene practises 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!