Strange disease in northern Uganda

As regular readers know, Chris has worked in northern Uganda for many years on post-conflict issues. I (and others) have been involved with one of those projects, evaluating a program to encourage female entrepreneurs. My trip last year to Gulu, Kitgum, Pader and more was fantastic, and I’m looking forward to going back in January. We’re just now in the middle of the midline survey, which should let us know how everything has gone so far.

Unfortunately progress has slowed, albeit for an excellent reason: there is a yet-to-be-identified disease spreading through the area, with a high (>50%) fatality rate. News reports are hard to come by (surprise! can you imagine if this were happening in, say, South Dakota?), but I did find this short report online. I have also seen the minutes of a local community meeting held yesterday in Kitgum, and naturally everyone is fairly anxious. Health workers are scared (as I would be!), since they have no real protection, and of course there are no ambulances or well-equipped hospitals in the region. *Very* preliminary diagnosis seems to be amoebic dysentery, but no one is at all sure.

My best wishes are with our field teams and everyone else in the area: stay safe!