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New Vision
Uganda: New Gonorrhoea Cases Shock Doctors

<p>Cecilia Okoth</p>


July 17, 2013

Visiting c doctors holding a treatment camp at Hope For New Life Church in Kireka-Biira, Wakiso district, were yesterday overwhelmed by the number of patients with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) who flocked for medication at the camp.

"There are many people coming in with STDs, mainly gonorrhoea and syphilis," Dr. Vena Ricketts, a professor of medicine and the head of the medical camp, said.

Dr. Ricketts revealed that young girls aged 20, are the most affected though there were also some cases among older women.

The team has treated over 1,000 people with various ailments over the last two days.

Rickets said they had registered about 60 patients with STDs, 40 of whom had gonorrhoea and 20 syphilis.

At least 2% of Ugandan adults (about 300,000) have syphilis according to the AIDS Indicator Survey report of 2011.

According to the report, 7.3% of Ugandan adults are living with HIV/AIDS, an increase from 6.4% from 2004.

The report says 36% of women and 18% of men who had ever had sex said they had an STD in the year preceding the survey.

STDs are indicative of low condom use.

According to the report, only 29% of women and 38% of men reported using condoms at the most recent high risk sex.

Another study at the Mulago STI clinic and Luzira Murchison-bay Prison Hospital discovered that gonorrhoea among men in Kampala was high.

A total of 55% of the men sampled were found to have gonorrhoea.

Despite those diagnosed with gonorrhoea at the Kireka-Biira camp being treated, those with syphilis were not.

"We had to refer syphilis patients to bigger hospitals," Rickets said.

Gonorrhoea patients were treated with ceftriaxone, an injection and doxycycline tablets meant to be swallowed for 14 days.

The syphilis patients were given penicillin before being refered to bigger hospitals.

Ricketts was shocked at the expenses some patients said they incur when being treated for STDs."In the US, when a patient is diagnosed with an STD, they are treated for free because these diseases are transmitted and could easily be carried on to the next person,"she said.

To get treated for an STD, Christine Muwanga, the co-ordinator of the project, said patients have to part with sh50,000 or more, depending on the stage of the infection.

Area residents have one clinic and a government health centre in Bulenga town, which according to Muwanga, is often congested, leaving some patients unattended to.

"The other hospitals they can access are Mengo and Rubaga, which are quite far away," she said.

Ricketts and a team of 24 doctors and paramedics are in the country for a week. They were invited to the country by Hope for New Life church in Kireka-Biira, a church and NGO that prioritises health, women and orphanage programmes.

The doctors will treat the residents of Kireka-Biira, Busega, Bulenga, Masanafu, Nansana, Bukasa, Bujuuko, Nateete in Wakiso for three days and treat people in Masaka for four days.

Other diseases the doctors are treating include scabies, asthma, allergies, malaria, high blood pressure, heart screening, abdominal pains, skin infections, cough and flu. Muwanga said the doctors will visit Uganda annually and offer treatment to the poor.



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