1 May 2008

Uganda: 'Poor Hygiene Cause of High Typhoid Prevalence'

Wakiso — Following a health report that indicates that typhoid has intensified in Wakiso District, health officials have resorted to a mass test of foodstuff dealers to reduce contamination.

Wakiso District Health Inspector Fred Kato Semugera said the disease prevalence rate has amplified due to poor hygiene and unpleasant handling of food and drinks by food vendors.

According to the findings, "The disease is intensifying because most people dealing in foodstuffs and drinks operate their businesses illegally and in unhygienic places," Dr Semugera said.

He said food prepared in illegal eating places is normally contaminated. Basing on the said statistics, the doctor said the district has decided to test all food vendors, shop attendants and others in related business.

"Beginning next month (May), we shall conduct a mass test where the vendors' blood, stool and skin samples will be examined," Mr Semugera said.

"Those who will satisfy us will be given an operational certificate with a photograph attached and stamped for easy identification in case need arises."

The tests will also help health experts to examine other life-threatening disease such as tuberculosis, cholera and worms.

However, food vendors looked at the move as the district's venture to collect money.

Ms Grace Namwanje, a food vendor in Bweyogerere said, "We shall test purposely to acquire licenses but not for preventive purposes. Such tests are normally carried every year but nothing changes."

She attributed the poor hygiene to local councils who fail to collect decomposing garbage in time.

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