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S. Sudan: Over 5 million at risk of river blindness

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July 20, 2013 (JUBA) - Nearly six million South Sudanese remain at risk of contracting river blindness disease due to negligence, health officials have warned.

The incidence of river blindness can be affected by land use change (UNEP/Mark Edwards)

River blindness, also known as Ochocerciasis is an eye and skin disease caused by a tiny worm called onchocerca volvulus, which is spread by the bite of an infected black fly.

Its symptoms, among other include intense itching, skin rash and discoloration, eye lesions, and/or subcutaneous bumps (nodules) under the skin. The skin becomes depigmented after the lesions heal.

Grace Fobi, the director of Africa Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC), said river blindness ranks among the worst tropical disease on the African continent.

She made the remarks during this week’s re-launch of Ochocerciasis Control Program in Juba, South Sudan.

Fobi said South Sudan needs to urgently improve its managerial and technical capabilities for the control program to effectively realize its aims.

The re-launch of the program, health officials told Sudan Tribune, follows results of the 2011 sustainability evaluation APOC conducted in the two-year old country.

According to Dr. Fobi, the APOC spring board recommended that a roadmap be developed and presented to all partners for a re-launch of a community-directed treatment for river blindness and other tropical infections in the country.

LONG-TERM GOAL

APOC, she said, will fully support South Sudan in its campaign against river blindness and all other tropical diseases in the region.

“We have adopted a long-term goal to eliminate the Onchocerciasis infection and interrupt its transmission 80% by 2025 in South Sudan,” Dr. Fobi said, but stressed that achieving this goal requires proper coordination between government and its partners.

Meanwhile, South Sudan’s Health minister, Dr. Milly Hussein did acknowledged that the country was at risk, with children aged between 5-10 years most affected.

The minister cited Western Equatoria and Eastern Equatoria states that lie in the tropical zone, as the worst affected regions.

On his part, the country’s health minister, Milly Hussein confirmed that the region at large is at risk with children 5-10 years old already infected particularly in Western Equatoria State, Eastern Equatoria and other tates lies on tropical line.

Hussein, however, expressed concerns that the disease may not completely be eradicated, due financial and technical shortfalls in the country.

He further stressed that only a joint commitment between government and its health partners would the Onchocerciasis Control Program realise the aim for which it was launched.

WORRYING STATISTICS

An estimated 17.7 million worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), are affected by river blindness.

Of this number, about 270,000 are reportedly blind and another 500,000 have visual impairment.

WHO says about 99% of infected persons reportedly live in Africa, with the remainder in Yemen, Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela and Brazil.

(ST).

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  • 21 July 2013 08:11, by Lotodo Awino Odug

    The guy in the picture Is really in trouble,the surgeon should deflate that bump of dirty water on his eye for him to see again.

    • 21 July 2013 16:50, by Dinkawarrior

      Ooh Lord have mercy on us!
      South Sudan is now became a business place of propagandists where they throw such a stupidities on us? Wait a minute!!! Are you telling us 11 millions people world wide are affected by the disease and 5.7 millions people are South Sudanese? What a shameful business is this? Mr. Puppy, can you verified the population of South Sudan? You’re dumbest Ass animal.

      • 21 July 2013 17:13, by Dinkawarrior

        Awino!
        The advertised man on the screen is not a South Sudanese, he may be from West African. I believed that the Equatorial Regions of South Sudan can’t even reached the population mentioned above. I’m not denying that there is no such a disease but it is more than exaggeration. Its could be a five thousand or more. The money-journalists are always differ from lives-journalists, this is a reason

        • 21 July 2013 17:27, by Dinkawarrior

          Let our journalists know that our dignities are valuable then money they’re hence from those predators. They need to pay attention to what they’re saying and analyzing before they throw out to the public. Yes, we want businesses people who are interested to invest in South Sudan and we need their honestly investment in our people lives.

        • 22 July 2013 08:54, by Lotodo Awino Odug

          That guy is a Mundari,he probably take shower once a week or when the rain unexpectedly rain on him.

  • 21 July 2013 08:43, by Jalaby

    Oh my Goodness!!
    In addition to all south catastrophe of food shortage, starvation, war and conflict, disabled economy and lack of foreign currency, cattle raiding, corruption and troop of thieves, now it’s river blindness disease turn!!
    Thieves are to be blamed for putting the south in front of the volcano mouth!!

  • 21 July 2013 09:03, by Marco Bul

    WHO wants to create ready market for their drugs in South Sudan.They are just bluffing.They want to scare the sh*t out of SS so Z they buy their medicines!
    @Jalabi.U are riding two horse n you will eventually split at the "seam".U are like adulterous woman looking for "varieties".

    • 21 July 2013 11:04, by Nibs

      I’ve read the article, and have not find where it’s stated that over 5 million south sudanese are at risk of river blindness,yet this foolish unethical ’journalist’ has the audacity to put it as headline.

      • 21 July 2013 11:12, by Northern Sudanese

        you should thank him cause he tried to make it look less bad, in article on the first lines it says ’’ Nearly six million South Sudanese remain at risk of contracting river blindness disease due to negligence, health officials have warned.’’
        that is your landlocked country nibshit loooool

  • 21 July 2013 11:03, by Northern Sudanese

    this is what you get for choosing independence, enjoy the landlocked paradise loool and don’t worry, its only getting worse and worse in a few years time either halve the country leaves or dies!

    • 21 July 2013 12:46, by EES Kingmaker

      Northern Sudan,
      Why RSS independence irks you so much to the extent you have nothing to write? That disease has nothing to do with our decision not to be with homosexuals. Have you ever known the same disease is in White Nile, Sennar, Gedaref and Kassala States? Why singing so loud about what befalls South Sudan? Please stop your malicious remarks. Deal with ur home-grown problems of dictatorship.

      • 21 July 2013 17:28, by Northern Sudanese

        EES Kingmaker
        that diseases is all over africa, but nowhere it affects millions of people. our people get the right treatment ’’if’’ they were affected. what I am saying is, this is the result of your independence. starvation , cow raids , hunger , diseases ect..... homosexuals? please lol, unlike you we don’t have sex with male cows hahhaa

      • 21 July 2013 17:31, by Northern Sudanese

        ahhahahaha please tell me, where is that disease in white nile , sennar , gedaref and kasala? it only exists in some parts of blue nile and nile state and they affect close to 0 people. my remarks are real ,you urine drinkers are nothing but whores affected by diseases and you have the worst global health crisis according to international groups with less than 100 doctors for your entire shithole.

    • 22 July 2013 13:44, by RAPIST MAMBO

      Northern Sudan,
      I can’t blame you because you are just IDIOT guy. you can only cheer today forgetting that tomorrow will be you. even if the whole country perish now still it will not give you a chance of coming to stay on the of RSS. Think of the way that God has put you under curse. Sorry dear GOD is with the RSS.



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