By Sandra Naluwugge
On the 28th of July 2017, Lugei foundation alongside her other partners commemorated world hepatitis day by holding a medical camp in Koboko region at Boma grounds.
The day was kicked off by what was termed a “solidarity walk” aimed at showing support towards those who are hepatitis B positive and to create more awareness about the disease.
Dr Rose Nanyonga, the current vice chancellor of International Health Sciences University (IHSU) doubled as the chief walker of the solidarity walk and the guest of honour for the medical camp. She officially opened the health camp urging people to view their risk of infection as a high priority item.
“If we don’t deal with the risk we end up spending thousands of shillings we do not even have,” Dr Nanyonga said, “It’s important that every member of the community, every family, every child understands what their risk is for a particular disease. For example, what is your risk for Hepatitis? What is your risk for HIV? What is your risk for Malaria? If you are going to fight any disease, start with risk.” Dr Nanyonga emphasized.
Immediately after the walk was over, guests and natives present were warmly welcomed through songs and poems all presented by students of Hilltop Learning Education Centre which happens to be offering adult education. Amidst this entertainment, session emerged a gentleman whose presence attracted an appraising and from the crowd’s cheer, you could tell he is a music legend in this particular region.
Commonly known as “the opinion master,” Pitra Benjamin Akonyu is a journalist who dedicated his life to producing educational music since 2006 geared towards establishing a trend of positive change within West Nile. He says he was inspired to do this kind of music because Koboko region is battling with underdevelopment as a result of people lacking the necessary education to equip them with knowledge and information meant to help them progress.
“I chose myself to be an opinion master because there was a series of problems I noticed in the region as I evaluated it and therefore decided to become an educator,” Akonyu explained.
Over the years, Akonyu’s music has been able to bring about visible significant change throughout the entire West Nile and it is simply amazing how people heed his messages. In 2006, Akonyu sang a song that was encouraging people to form associations and by that time they were not anywhere but after a short time SACCOs started springing up and now every town at least has an association binding its people financially. Akonyu’s goal is to sing songs that sensitize people so as to bring about overall behavioural change and though his music has done well so far, he still laments about the centralization of service delivery in Koboko region.
According to the opinion master, “people in the municipality have more access to health services than those in the remote areas, if only it could be balanced.” Akonyu sadly said.
Throughout the day, community members tested for Hepatitis B, HIV, Diabetes, BMI and the ICT Department used Lime Survey powered tools to collect pre-test, post-test and client satisfaction data which will be used to conduct analysis and evaluation of the people’s health in koboko region after the three days.
Like a real patriot with the welfare of his region always at heart, Akonyu and many other individuals within Koboko region like Mr Alege struggle every day to pass on the necessary information to the locals so that a change can be achieved. At IHSU we always emphasize making a difference in all we do, this is Akonyu’s way of bringing about a difference in his region, how about you?