Over 650 people infested with jiggers in Rukungiri district.
At least 650 people in Bwambara Sub-county, Rujumbura county, Rukungiri district, have suffered from jigger infestation since August last year.
The most affected villages are Rushebeya, Kateramo, and Kempazi all in Kikongi parish.
John Tumushabe; the chairperson LC I Kateramo Village, says many people, including children ranging from the ages of two to five are unable to walk, while the adults between 50 and 70 years have trouble sitting due to pain caused by jiggers.
Tumushabe says together with members of the village health teams (VHT), they have started sensitizing the people in jigger-infested areas about good hygiene.
Annet Kyobutungi, member of the VHT Rushebeya cell, says the problem has been escalated by residents’ failure to adhere to proper sanitation standards. Adding that some families no longer care about their wellbeing as parents have failed to play their roles and some children sleep with dirty feet.
Chris Kagayano, the Bwambara Sub-county LC III chairman, attributed the problem to water shortage in the area.
“I started hearing that there were jiggers in the sub-county but most people in Bwambara are living in poor hygiene places because of water scarcity. That makes us prone to such infections,” said Kagayano.
He says they have instructed a team of health workers to give medical services to the affected population.
Ronald Nahabwe, the sub-county Community Development Officer said so far about 450 people are receiving treatment.
Geoffrey Kyomukama; the LCV chairman Rukungiri district has since urged locals, religious leaders and security personnel to join efforts in fighting the jiggers.
Jiggers penetrate the body mainly through the feet and hands, where they suck blood from their host. When left untreated, heavy infestations may lead to inflammation, wounds, tetanus infections from open wounds and death.