Guardian Examines Neglected Diseases in Rural Ugandan Community
The Guardian on Friday examined neglected diseases in Katine, Uganda, as part of a series of articles tracking development work in the rural sub-county.
Health programs in Katine focus on addressing HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria-Uganda's "three biggest killers"-by using an "integrated approach," which is in line with medical programs across Africa, according to the Guardian. However, the focus on these three diseases might contribute to a deficit in funding for other diseases that result in millions of deaths around the world.
Ruth McNerney of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine's department of infectious and tropical diseases said in rural communities like Katine, people living with HIV/AIDS are "more likely to survive" than people who have diabetes. Although HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria "have a disproportional effect in terms of numbers, many other killer illnesses are going unchecked," McNerney said.
Other common health problems in Katine include: diarrhoeal illnesses, intestinal worms, eye and skin conditions, as well as respiratory infections, the Guardian reports. In addition, a local health center has been dealing with increasing numbers of people who have dysentery and occasional measles and cholera outbreaks.
Village health teams might assist with some of these other health issues, as well as the major three diseases, by conducting outreach services, making clinic referrals, providing care at home and promoting personal hygiene these groups. However managing the communities expectations is challenging, according to Joseph Semujju, the African Medical and Research Foundation's health officer in Katine. He said, "There is such a huge need for improved health services, for a better drug supply chain, for more and better equipped clinics, but there is a limit to what we can realistically achieve" (Kelly, Guardian, 4/17).