Education

Urgent Measures Taken as Red Eye Outbreak Hits Ugandan School

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  • Florence Alekuru, a teacher at the school, explains that the decision to dismiss students early was made after discovering that 93 pupils, particularly those in the lower grades due to higher enrollment, were infected with the eye ailment.
  • The Ministry of Health advises that the disease spreads through hand-to-eye contact, sharing personal items such as towels or pillowcases, facial contact, or the sharing of eye drops or eyeglasses.

The school administration has noted that the lower-grade students are the most impacted by the recent outbreak of a highly contagious eye disease. Consequently, as a preventive measure, the school decided to close early, prior to the scheduled first-term holiday on May 3, 2024. Musa Ocima, the Chairperson of the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), emphasizes the urgency for intervention from the district health department to curb further transmission within the community. Florence Alekuru, a teacher at the school, explains that the decision to dismiss students early was made after discovering that 93 pupils, particularly those in the lower grades due to higher enrollment, were infected with the eye ailment.

This infection, commonly known as conjunctivitis, affects the eye’s surface and inner eyelid, and can be caused by viruses, bacteria, allergens, or specific eye medications. The Ministry of Health advises that the disease spreads through hand-to-eye contact, sharing personal items such as towels or pillowcases, facial contact, or the sharing of eye drops or eyeglasses.

Mary Abiria, a parent at Ewanga Primary School, reports that three of her children have contracted the disease from the school, leading to its spread within the family. Sub County Chief of Ewanga, Alex Abiribale, reveals that the red eye disease has affected more residents beyond the school premises.

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According to the Ministry of Health, Uganda has recorded over 7,500 cases of red eye infections nationwide in the past month.

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