Why Acid Attacks Are On Rise


rx sans-serif; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>She died at Mulago Hospital where she had been battling with serious bruises and scalds that disfigured her body and left her totally blind with only one ear.

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It is alleged that her boyfriend Andrew Francis Obirai who carried out the attack is still on remand at Soroti Government Prison after being charged with attempted murder.

This article soaked my heart in pain and left me wondering whether this life sentence can ever be justified and whether the victim will ever get justice.

Atim’s case is not an isolated one.

When I visited Mulago Hospital’s intensive care unit, I noticed a “Strictly No Visitors Allowed” sign plastered prominently on the door to keep visitors away from patients who nurse grave burns.

According to a nurse at the hospital who I asked, the warning keeps out people who would import harmful bacteria that would cause infection and worsen the patients’ wounds.

Some patients have wounds all over the body and others have faces covered in plasters.

Some walk about stiffly, like robots within ward 2C groaning and moaning.

Dr. Ssentongo of Mulago Hospital says that whenever there are heightened political activities, the unit gets more patients because of political rivalry.

A political rival nursing an acid attack would automatically be out of the race.

At the Burns Unit, the burns are repaired through continuous surgery, making acid burns the most expensive to treat.

The healing process, Ssentongo says, depends on which part was affected and how much damage was inflicted on one’s body.

Long term effects include scarring of the skin, eyelids, nostrils, ear canals and mouth which don’t change with age.

Sometimes, patients need organ replacement, like the nose or ear, and it is difficult for one to return to their pre-attack looks.

We have heard stories of women pouring acid on their co-wives and several other stories related to acid attacks.

However, we have not heard much about government’s strategy in combating this evil act and how to help victims.

Discrimination and a lack of legal support to punish acid culprits have left hundreds of victims in Uganda without justice.

Advocates are currently lobbying for increased police attention and new policies to monitor the sale of acid commonly used in attacks.

Sulfuric and nitric acids are most commonly used because they are easy to get and sale and use.

With a litre of acid costing between Shs 2,000 and Shs 3,000, its accessibility limited by unimplemented guidelines, the number of victims is expected to go higher by the day.

Government should look into this matter seriously and ensure that the culprits are brought to book.

The victims must get justice.

The laws must be stringent so that they deter the would-be culprits from engaging in this crime.


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