Uganda has hosted the 21st session of the Joint Action Forum (JAF) on Onchocerciasis (river blindness) to deliberate on the progress made by African countries in the road to elimination of the disease on the continent.
The conference is taking place at Speke Resort, Muyonyo, under the theme: ‘Forty years of Onchocerciasis control in Africa.’
The JAF is the governing body of the African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC) and it convenes annually to review the progress of APOC activities.
The forum will review the progress made in reducing the burden of Onchocerciasis in Africa and share challenges and lessons learnt from Onchocerciasis control in Africa.
It is expected to review status of Elimination in Africa and share ongoing efforts by the World Health Organization (WHO) and stakeholders to set-up a new entity (ESPEN) that will take over the responsibilities of APOC.
A total of 23 African health ministers from 23 APOC participating countries are expected to attend the forum. Others expected are APOC donors, International collaborating partners, United Nation Agencies, international researchers, resource persons and Universities.
In Uganda the disease is endemic in 26 districts where more than 3.9 million people are at risk of acquiring the infection and more than 1.4 million are already in infected and over 5,000 with impaired vision in northern Uganda. The disease causes eye lesion which lead to impaired vision and blindness. So far, the disease has been eliminated from 11 districts (Kabarole, Kyenjojo, Kamwenge, Ibanda, Rubirizi, Buhweju, Hoima, Mbale, Bududa, Sironko, Manafwa.
Written by Vision Reporter, http://www.newvision.co.ug/news/676878-uganda-hosts-global-meeting-on-river-blindness.html