BY KABUYE RONALD
The Ministry of Health declared an outbreak of Conjunctivitis (Red Eyes) in Uganda thus urging Uganda to remain couscous on this burden.
The diseases is confirmed from parts of Gulu district, especially in Gulu Main Prison, Pece Prison, Gulu Remand (Juvenile) Home and Gulu Main Police Station.
According to surveillance and laboratory reports, 798 suspected cases have so far been reported within these detainment centres.
Cases of conjunctivitis have also been reported within Lugore HCII, Labworomor HCIII, Patiko HCIII, Lukodi HCII, Punena HCII, Coope HCII, and Bardege HCIII within the month of December 2016, where 50 samples were picked for a whole range of bacterial and viral laboratory testing both within and outside Uganda.
Ministry of health director General health services, Prof Mbonye Anthony, says that surveillance efforts by the district and Ministry of Health teams continue.
The conjunctiva is the thin clear tissue that lies over the white part of the eye and lines the inside of the eyelid. Some of the symptoms of Conjunctivitis are; redness in the white of the eye or inner eyelid, increased amount of tears, thick yellow discharge that crusts over the eyelashes especially after sleep, Itchy eyes, blurred vision and increased sensitivity to light.
Conjunctivitis is mainly caused by bacteria or viruses and can spread easily from person to person, but is not a serious health risk if diagnosed and treated promptly.
Prof Mbonye says that among new-born babies however, conjunctivitis should be reported to a doctor immediately, as it could be a vision-threatening infection.
Prof Mbonye added that the Ministry of Health, with support from partners is undertaking a number of measures to control the spread of the disease, including; Promoting hygiene and WASH activities within all Gulu prisons, also the Active case search for red eye in the prisons, health facilities and the community.
Increased Conjunctivitis surveillance by the district and Ministry of Health team, Conducting sensitization programmes to educate masses about the signs, symptoms and dangers of the disease, Orientation of health workers on investigating and responding to the red eye disease among others.
He however, urged the public to maintain high sanitation standards, Wash hands with soap, Avoid direct contact with people infected with the disease, particularly avoid shaking of hands, report and immediately take any suspected cases to a nearby health facility, and to also to remain vigilant and report all possible cases to the nearest health facilities.