ICHIO members share a “Kodak” moment with the children in Katoogo
On 30th January 2020, students of Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH), under their umbrella organization called Integrated Community Health Initiative Organization (ICHIO), joined the rest of the world in commemorating the first – ever World Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) Day. To mark this important day, they organized a Community sensitization event in Katoogo, a zone in Gaba, Kampala, to raise awareness about NTDs.
The sensitization centered on the vulnerability of this particular community, to disease outbreaks; the residents mentioned their fear of bilharzia, cholera, and typhoid among others. Advice on boiling water for drinking, was emphasized. However, the residents worried about the decreasing levels of hygiene standards especially in rainy weather, citing an ever – increasing possibility of worse scenarios.
Speaking on behalf of ICHIO, Ms Maxencia Nabiryo, one of the founders of the organization said that they were moved to do something about NTDs particularly in Katoogo because they had witnessed the unenviable plight of its residents during one of their field work trips, as students at Makerere University. And it was unmistakably visible during the sensitization that Katoogo was in a literal mess (translated as “katogo” in the local language). The place was flooded in water bemired in a hodgepodge of every kind of filth imaginable; from over – flooded latrines to flotillas of baby diapers and used plastic bottles dotting the heavily - muddled puddles. Even the most “battle – hardened” food appetites dropped to an all – time low on the senses’ index as an all – too - familiar foul stench forcefully barged through the air. The contrast couldn’t be any starker, between tarmac roads and well – planned - and – constructed buildings in Mulago, to the appalling muck of Katoogo.
The students also invited the community to share experiences and recommend solutions to their predicament; because they lived the experiences. It was revealed by residents of the place that the situation got out of hand sometimes. One female resident who preferred to remain anonymous revealed that a couple lost a baby in their flooded house when they had gone to fend for survival: “they found a floating corpse in their house but could not report anywhere for fear of being thrown off the land”, she mourned. The residents also decried the growing levels of pollution in their community but admitted to being part of the problem. They requested to be given land for relocation before the cold clutches of “watery hell” broke loose. “Otherwise the lake will reclaim its land”, one of them quipped.
The Crown Prince Court of Abu Dhabi funded this event through the Global Health Strategies.
About Integrated Community Health Initiative Organisation (ICHIO)
Integrated Community Health Initiative Organisation (ICHIO), is a youth led and registered NGO in Uganda, founded by students of Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH) in 2015. This followed an observation of the prevailing health situation on Islands, landing sites and other congregate settings, characterized by unsafe water, poor hygiene and sanitation practices, high prevalence of HIV/TB, high rates of drug/substance abuse, Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) and other preventable diseases.
ICHIO aims at a Uganda free from preventable diseases as a result of an empowered healthy and productive community, through implementing integrated health approaches systematically to contribute to the improvement and sustainability of the Public Health Interventions at local and national level. While working in line with the existing structures, ICHIO wishes to add an extra effort to ensure equity & continuity in Primary Health Care delivery and universal health coverage particularly in the areas of WASH, HIV/TB, Drug abuse & NTDs Control while embracing One Health concept in order to effectively contribute to Sustainable Development Goals.
For more information, visit http://www.ichio.org/