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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.

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Al Jazeera
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