1,000 quinine-disabled pupils get soft seats


BUKEDEA. At least 1,000 pupils deformed by quinine injection in Bukedea District have received cushioned plastic chairs and foam sheets to help them sit more comfortably in class.

Mr Jackson Osire, the project coordinator of Bukedea Educational Transformation International (BETI), on Monday said they handed more than 80 cushioned plastic chairs and 100 pieces of foam sheets.

He said Bukedea District has 1,752 children deformed as result of poorly administered quinine, an antimalarial drug.
Mr Osire said the cushions and foam sheets will help ease seating for the pupils who mostly suffered deformities at the hands of quack medical personnel.
He asked the Ministry of Health to police private health units which are run by unqualified persons.

Mr John Geoffrey Olupot, the heard teacher of Bukedea Township Primary School, said many pupils affected by quinine have a huge challenge of seating on hard desks.
“There is also stigma that has been created among these pupils by fellow pupils who laugh at them as the victims struggle to walk,” he said.
Mr Olupot said the numbers have kept swelling with some also being victims of poorly administered medicine at the hands of quack medics operating private clinics.

Mr Joseph Mala, one of the effected pupils, said the burden of sitting on hard surfaces has been discomforting, adding that the cushions will now help them sit comfortably in class.
Mr Albert Koffeman, the BETI project director, said: “These children need to sit on soft surface to be able to study and compete well with other pupils, it is the reason we came in to offer our humble support, very humble support.”

He said the use of quinine by quack medics must be checked since several children have been deformed not just in Uganda but a cross Africa.
Mr Koffeman said the burden of poorly administered quinine does not only deform children but leaves them with lifetime burden.

Mr Osire told Daily Monitor BETI had initially planned to help handicapped pupils with small grants, and scholastic materials, but during their operations, they came across several pupils a cross the district who had been deformed as a result of poorly administered quinine.

Mr Osire said the children with quinine deformities range from 6 to 15 years, adding that some are out of school.
He expressed hope they would have wheelchairs given to the children with graver deformities and can’t walk for long distances.

Mr Stephen Ikodet, the Bukedea District health officer, said they have strengthened registration and licensing of all private health units in the district as a measure to curb operations of quack medics.
He said some of the dubious clinics were closed last year.


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