LIRA – Over 1000 victims of hydrocele sickness have undergone surgery through the assistance of the Lymphatic Filariasis Morbidity Management and Disability Prevention- LF- MMDP project in the Lango sub region.
A hydrocele is a type of swelling in the scrotum that occurs when fluid collects in the thin sheath surrounding a testicle. Hydrocele is common in new-borns but usually disappears without treatment by age one. However, older boys and adults can develop a hydrocele due to inflammation or injury within the scrotum.
The Ministry of Health, in 2020 launched a three-year project worth Ugx4b– targeting to eliminate hydrocele and Elephantiasis from the Lango sub-region – the area that had been discovered with the highest number of such cases in Uganda.
Under the project- care and treatment for lymphedema have been offered to over 2000 affected persons. The Lango LF-MMDP project being implemented by Sight Savers-an international non-governmental organisation provides surgeries for hydrocele and lymphedema in the nine districts comprising the Lango sub-region. The project is set to wind-up its operations in the region in September, this year.
According to records, over 500 cases were treated in Lira; Otuke 262; while Dokolo registered over 500.
Aludi dek-Apena -a resident of the Bar sub-county in Lira district who had lived with a hydrocele for 25 years, revealed the weight of his scrotum had hindered his movements until he was operated upon in 2021.
“I can, now walk properly and my ability to perform conjugal rights has greatly improved – and I had to wed my wife,” revealed Apena.
Dorcus Auma – another resident who had suffered from elephantiasis for over 10 years was too, excited that the swelling in both her legs was reducing.
However, Sarah Irema, the Sight Savers Program Officer in charge of Neglected Tropical Diseases in Lango sub-region explained that despite the intervention, new cases were being identified and that all districts were still endemic with Lira registering the highest number of cases.
Dr Anthony Wani – the country Director Sight Savers noted that because the number of identified cases had exceeded their initial estimation, it was a challenge, especially when on logistical issues.
Dr Wani is also concerned that some of the affected persons were hesitant to seek medical assistance due to stigma and misconceptions associated with the disease, especially hydrocele.
Dr Patrick Tusiime – the Commissioner of NDC called for support from all stakeholders to help in the fight against NTDs – saying there were different components that needed to be addressed if the fight to eliminate NTD could be achieved.
“We call upon our teams in the Local Government and urban authorities that with the support we have from the partners we should really look at the specific diseases we have in our communities and include them in our programming in the districts because clearly, we need every hand,” he said.
Meanwhile, Rashid Mwesige Etwop, the Lira Vector Control Officer who doubles as the NTD Focal Point person said more males had been registered compared to females with more cases being registered in the rural than urban settings, which indicate more infection in the rural than urban.