Caterpillars force patients to vacate Jinja hospital

Thursday February 7 2019

Caterpillars that have invaded Jinja Hospital.

Caterpillars that have invaded Jinja Hospital. PHOTO BY TAUSI NAKATO 

By Tausi Nakato

Patients and their attendants at Jinja hospital on Wednesday scampered for safety following an invasion of toxic caterpillars in the maternity and premature babies’ wards of the facility.

The caterpillars have consumed almost all the leaves on the Syzygium cumini (Jambula) tree that is near both wards and some of them have entered inside the hospital.

Ms Jane Nabwire, one of the mothers said she is in fear that the worm-like insects which have sneaked into the wards might injury her newly born baby.

“Caterpillars are very dangerous and I can’t sleep at night because I keep imagining they have climbed my bed,’’ Ms Nabwire lamented.

Mr Dison Azalwa, one of the attendants whose wife had just given birth, appealed to authorities to intervene before the situation escalates.

Patients while sitting outside Jinja Hospital.

Patients while sitting outside Jinja Hospital. PHOTO BY TAUSI NAKATO

“We ask the government to intervene because people will fear to come here yet it is a referral hospital. The insects have even entered water tanks where people draw water from,’’ Mr Azalwa said.

The Jinja hospital boss, Dr Edward Nkurunziza, said the caterpillars will be eliminated by spraying.

“We are going to get rid of them by spraying. Otherwise, patients should remain calm because it is a very small issue that can be handled in a very short time,’’ he said.

Caterpillars, which have spines, can cause pain, rashes, itching, burning, swelling and blistering once they get in contact with the human skin.