Pader District Vector Control Officer William Sam Oyet called for urgent government intervention citing that the flies are reported to be responsible for the outbreak of nodding syndrome. Although the real cause of nodding syndrome is not yet known, the Ministry of Health through several scientific research conducted attributes its cause to black flies that are dominant along the Aswa River.
An upsurge of black flies in Pader District has left residents in fear. The flies are reportedly breeding in the Sub counties of Puranga, Laguti, Angagura and Awere.
William Sam Oyet, the Pader District Vector Control Officer told URN on Friday that a recent assessment conducted between June 22 to June 27 in the four sites of Pabit, Aruu falls and Awere found that the population of black flies had risen drastically over the last one month.
He notes that the increased population of the flies is because of the government’s lack of intervention in spraying the area. According to Oyet, the last intervention towards spraying the flies was conducted in March 2008 by Sight Savers, a Non-governmental organization working to combat neglected tropical diseases in the district.
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He says the flies are affecting economic activities and concentration of learners in schools adding that government should intervene.
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Oyet called for urgent government intervention citing that the flies are reported to be responsible for the outbreak of nodding syndrome. Although the real cause of nodding syndrome is not yet known, the Ministry of Health through several scientific research conducted attributes its cause to black flies that are dominant along the Aswa River.
The neurological ailment presents its self with cognitive failure, stunted growth and epileptic seizures in children between 5-15 years.
Dickson Okello, the Angagura Sub-county LCV Councilor says the invasion was first reported late last month, adding that a number of people have now shunned farming fearing that they may be bitten by the flies and get infected with nodding syndrome.
“The flies are very many in the community, people who have farmlands along the river belt and forested areas are no longer willing to farm. They fear being bitten because reports have been circulating that the flies are responsible for causing nodding syndrome,” Okello says.
Okello says they are worried about the health of the community members especially children and expectant women who have since been bitten by the dangerous flies.
Dr Joyce Moriku Kaducu, the Minister of State for Primary Healthcare says the health ministry has been alerted on the growing number black flies adding that consultations to conduct spraying in the affected area are underway.
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In April Dr Richard Idro, a pediatric neurologist at Makerere University heading research and investigation of nodding syndrome described the worms causing nodding syndrome as thread-like roundworms which enter their victims through repeated bites of black flies.
The research finding, however, met criticism by many scientists including Dr Sylvester Onzivua, a consultant Pathologist who says the association between nodding syndrome and black flies is questionable.
More than 3,000 children between the age of 5-15 years have died from nodding syndrome since 2009 when it was first discovered.