Ephraim Tukesiga: 'Sleepless nights'

The vector control officer traps flies by getting bitten to test them for the river blindness parasite.

Last Modified: 18 Sep 2013 13:41
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Tukesiga has set up a field laboratory by the river to carry out his tests on the baby worms that cause the disease [Al Jazeera]

Ephraim Tukesiga forces himself to get bitten by flies that cause river blindness - all in the name of science.

The vector control officer traps flies by exposing his legs to their painful bite. He then sets up a field laboratory to test whether the flies he has caught carry the parasite that causes the disease.

Tukesiga, who works alongside the Carter Center with the National Onchocerciasis Control Programme, says that on examining a small skin sample of those affected by river blindness for microfilaria or baby worms, shows that around 250 microfilaria can be found in just 4 milligrams.

"So you can imagine the itching when someone says he has sleepless nights," he said.

Tukesiga brings traditional knowledge and cutting-edge science to treating river blindness and is one of many health heroes of Lifelines: The Quest for Global Health.

Lifelines: The Quest for Global Health will air on Al Jazeera in 2014.


Al Jazeera
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About LifeLines
Lifelines: The Quest For Global Health
is Al Jazeera's new cross-platform project profiling the extraordinary work of global health workers as they tackle eight deadly diseases and conditions that afflict vulnerable communities across the globe. These good news stories stretch from the Philippines to Pakistan, Uganda to South Sudan, India to Senegal, featuring the people who are working to prevent, control or eradicate malaria, rabies, polio, leprosy, schistosomiasis, Guinea worm, river blindness, trachoma and maternal and neonatal mortality. Online, on screen and on the ground in affected communities, we will share their uplifting stories in Lifelines: The Quest For Global Health.
Sign up for regular updates about the people and their work around the world to tackle these diseases and conditions.
Lifelines will focus month by month on each condition here on our website and in 2014 will premiere an eight-part
documentary series on Al Jazeera English.