A section of residents at the Uganda-South Sudan border point of Elegu Town Council in Amuru District are using urine as ‘eye drops’ to treat conjunctivitis also known as red eye disease.

This comes in the wake of the outbreak of the highly contagious eye disease at the bustling border town since the month began according to health officials.

Patrick Luis Lamot, the Port Health Focal Point Person at Elegu Border point said Monday that the disease has since affected 393 people between April 3, 2024  to date.

The disease is characterized by inflammation of the conjunctiva, redness of the eye, blurred vision, itching or burning of the eyes among others. In a report seen by Uganda Radio Network, Lamot noted that those infected with the disease are mainly Ugandans and South Sudanese who sought for treatment from health facilities within Elegu Town Council.

According to the report, 162 patients sought for treatment at Port Health Elegu, 64 patients from Golden Dic clinic, 40 from Vitality Medical Centre between April 3 to April 22. Lamot said the people hard hit by the disease at the border point are transporters especially loaders at car stages, hotel/ restaurant staff, money changers, clearing agents, traders in the market and a few border management officials.

“We are seeing these cases due to the mass movement of people across the border areas of Uganda and South Sudan. this is also partly due to the failure by the individuals to follow up intervention measures such as hand washing,” he told URN in an interview.

He noted that since the outbreak was registered, they have been registering at least five cases per day adding that due to the lack of eye drops, health officials are only issuing antibiotics to the patients at the Port Health Elegu.

Patients Opt for Urine

William Oyoo, a driver at Elegu Town Council however noted that several drivers and other residents within the area have resorted to using urine drops in their eyes claiming it cures red eyes infection.

Oyoo alleged that some of the patients who were infected with the disease reported they got cured after three or four days of using their own urine as eye drop.

Swale Mansour, a bus conductor at Elegu Border Point said that he realized he had contracted the disease when he woke up with itchy and swollen eyelid three weeks ago. He said his wife too later showed the same signs and symptoms.

Mansour however alleged that they later started using their own urine to treat the disease arguing that within just three days the redness and the swelling cleared.

“I am ok now, I used my own urine to treat the disease, even other people here in Elegu are using their urine for the same reason,” he said.

Health officials have however dismissed claims that urine cures red eyes and instead cautioned patients to seek proper medical treatment from health professionals.

Dr. Kenneth Cana, Gulu District Health Officer said urine contains toxins that are dangerous for the eyes and instead advised community members to only seek for medical treatment from health facilities.

“The believe that urine can cure red eye disease is a false one and I advise locals to stop using it. Urine is very toxic, it’s a waste excreted from the body because it has no use in the body,” he said.

Dr. Cana said Gulu District and Gulu City has since the outbreak of the disease this month registered 360 cases of red eyes disease, the majority being in the urban centers of Gulu city.

According to health officials at Elegu border point, a total of 1,000 people are screened everyday including cross border communities that move in and out of the border every day.

The Health Ministry declared an outbreak of red eyes in Uganda in March this year with the most affected areas being schools and prison facilities within Kampala. 

The disease has since spread to various districts across the country with the health Ministry advocating for regular washing of hands as preventive measure for the disease.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *