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Your mail: Learn to deal with deadly ticks

I wish to comment on a story in The Observer of September 6-7, 2017 in which it was reported that a strange disease called Crimean Congo Haemorhagic Fever (CCHF) has struck some people in Nakaseke district.

Whether the CCHF disease is present in Nakaseke or not is another issue, but my main concern here is whether we have the means of conducting an early warning system (surveillance) for the disease, diagnosing it in a timely way to save lives, treat cases and implement effective preventive and control measures.

CCHF is a disease spread by ticks although it can also spread via handling human body fluids (person-to-person).

Squashing a tick between two bare fingures can also spread CCHF, as can drinking raw milk from a cow with the virus. As of 2016, 16 tick-borne diseases of humans are known.

Luckily, not all tick bites transmit diseases, just like not all bites by the female anopheles mosquitoes transmit malaria; such are the surprising and mild aspects of our natural enemies. 

As for CCHF, ticks of the genus Hyalomma are the principal vector, and a good effort to do surveillance of the disease should monitor the infection of ticks with the virus.

In my opinion, if ticks on wild and domestic animals in a given region can be shown to be infected with a virus or any agent of the disease, efforts can then be made to eradicate or control the ticks before the disease spreads in animals and humans.

I can only tell you what I know well; the best way to prevent a tick-borne disease is to not to get bitten by a tick in the first place. Ticks like to live in grass, in bushes, or leaf piles; not to say you should not go near such places.

They grab onto you as you walk by, find bare skin, and dig in. When you are outdoors, stay away from tall bushes or grass and stick to the middle of a trail; apply tick and insect repellents on your exposed skin; wear long trousers and long-sleeved shirts and tuck the trousers into white socks so you can see ticks and discard them; look carefully for ticks when you get back home.

If you find one that hasn’t latched on, you are not at risk for any of these infections. The government should invest more in our veterinary and wildlife services by equipping them with laboratories capable of detecting the presence of infectious disease vectors such as ticks.

Paul Edward Okello,
Kampala.

We need unity, not tribalism

In almost all public speeches by prominent Ugandans, there is mention about uniting Uganda. Special emphasis is laid on avoiding tribalism. I think some clarification about tribe and tribalism is necessary.

In Uganda, we have more than thirty tribes. In each district, you find tribes living together. National boundaries in Africa were determined by colonial policies.

The unity we need in rebuilding Uganda must be realistic and genuine. We must accept our tribal diversity and make it a basis for our unity. Secondly, we must adopt a positive attitude to all tribes in Uganda and their respective cultures.

We have to promote the good values of each ethnic group in Uganda. We should also have unity of purpose. This should consist in working tirelessly for justice, peace, stability and integral development.

Julius Katongole,
Political analyst.
+256785947567.

What do my taxes do?

Every year, Uganda Revenue Authority recognizes outstanding taxpayers especially from the private sector.

However, this year, they have spiced it up by bringing government ministries, departments and agencies on board to account for taxes in the event they have called taxpayer appreciation week starting September 27, 2017.

The reason why MDAs are being brought on board is to answer the common question of “what do my taxes do?”

The public has kept wondering what their taxes do; some have even dodged taxes because they see no significance of paying.

Sarah Kyobe,
Kampala.

More Ugandans at risk of facing prison

A few months before the last general elections in Uganda, I posted this on social media: “If I was one of the many Museveni’s presidential advisors, and he happens to grab the next term in office, I would advise him to build as many prisons as possible.”

I had read the mood of many Ugandans. I had also moved around Uganda and visited several prisons and detention centers. The situation was shocking. The numbers were overwhelming.

Today, barely two years in office, Museveni’s government has imprisoned countless politicians, such as the many that were arrested and imprisoned from Rwenzori sub-region in Kasese plus their traditional leader.

Now Museveni seems to be fermenting another group of potential prisoners, with his determination to push through the constitutional amendment on land acquisition.

The situation has not been helped by the recent appointment of the moral police (Fr Simon Lokodo’s anti-pornography committee) intended at arresting those sharing pornographic material! They have even purchased a machine at Shs 2bn to do the job, in a country failing to buy a modern cancer machine!

By the end of this current term, I foresee this government imprisoning an unprecedented number of Ugandans. Unfortunately, the majority of these will be politically-related prisoners.

This is why today it is easier for criminals to freely roam around Uganda, killing innocent women unabated than any ‘real’ opposition politician.

Bidi Halid,
Human rights campaigner.

We welcome Arua market

The construction of Arua main market and taxi park has finally kicked off. This is an exercise that is long overdue.

Our request, however, is that the authorities should do a routine supervision in order to avoid scenarios such as putting up poor structures.

Some modern markets in the country like the ones in Wandegeya and Lira are shunned by vendors reportedly because the structures are unfavourable.

The congestion we have in the market and taxi park would be history once the new ones are completed. The vendors and taxi operators should comply and relocate to the designated places to pave way for the works.

Muzamil Alamiga,
Arua.


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