Uganda Sees River Blindness Fading Away

01 Feb 2023
Fred Matalocu with his family. Photo credit: Aggrey Mugisha, The Carter Center

The rushing tributaries of the White Nile in northwest Uganda’s Moyo District make ideal breeding grounds for the black flies that transmit river blindness, as Fred Matalocu knows only too well.

At 65, Matalocu is old enough to remember how river blindness — a neglected tropical disease also known as onchocerciasis — once devastated his community. Because of the unbearable itching, disfiguring skin damage, and crippling vision loss caused by the infection, people had to stop farming near the rivers and the many other small streams in the area.