By Samuel Opio
Over 90 youths in the eight districts that make up West sub-region have been thrown out of the ongoing recruitment of Local Defence Unit (LDU) personnel as a result of Hepatitis B infections, lack of academic qualifications and late coming.
According to the UPDF, recruits need to be physically fit, medically and mentally fit with no impairments.
Persons living with HIV, those suffering from Hepatitis, asthma, heart disease and Kidney complications, are automatically eliminated through the medical fitness test, in order to avoid escalating the ailments.
Col. Ronald Bigirwa, the head of the recruitment exercise in West Nile, said the discovery shocked them.
“We found more than 90 of the recruits having Hepatitis B from the eight districts. This is an indication that a bigger number of the population is infected. In Yumbe district, I discussed with the leadership to encourage immunization,” he said.
“People do not fear Hepatitis B but HIV Aids and people do not know that it is more dangerous than HIV/Aids. It is unfortunate that we could not take them on because our principle is that we should recruit physically and medically fit personnel for training. Those ones were eliminated though they had the papers and completed the road run well,” He added
West Nile sub-region consists of Adjumani, Arua, Koboko, Maracha, Moyo, Nebbi, Yumbe and Zombo districts.
Nevertheless, about 140 people were recruited from the region, Col Bigirwa said.
The LDUs will be deployed in their areas of residence to conduct patrols within the villages, gather information, be listening posts, attend village security meetings, report incidents and to file patrol reports.
Hepatitis B is a viral infection that attacks the liver and can cause both acute and chronic disease.
Uganda is one of the countries affected most by Hepatitis B. About 3.5 million, representing 10 percent of the Ugandan population are living with chronic hepatitis B infection. Karamoja region ranks highest with 23.9 percent of the cases, followed by northern Uganda at 20.7 percent, West Nile with 18.5 percent and western region with 10 percent of the country prevalence.