LOP Calls for Livelihood Support to Nodding Syndrome Victims
BY POLYCAP KALOKWERA & DENIS OPOKA
KITGUM. Leader of Opposition in tenth Parliament Winnie Kizza, has called for immediate intervention by government in the support of families whose children are suffering from Nodding Syndrome through livelihood support.
Nodding syndrome is a neurological illness, which affects mainly children aged 5-15 year-old characterized by nodding of head.
Ms Kizza also the woman Members of Parliament for Kasese district made the remarks on Saturday when she led a team of MPs on Opposition in Parliament and Acholi MPs for a two day visit to the nodding syndrome treatment center and families in Omoro, Pader and Kitgum districts.
Ms Kizza noted that the time is now to empower the nodding syndrome affected families with at least animals for milk production and Oxen and Ox-plough for land opening for food sustainability.
“Besides supporting the affected families with emergency food relief there is need to empower the families for self-sustainability alongside the drug intake,” Ms Kizza said.
“The magnitude of problems the affected families of nodding syndrome is far different from what has always been presented on the flow of parliament by the Ministry of Health Officials,” she said
She reiterated that government needs to reopen the already available treatment centers to avoid further death of the children with nodding syndrome.
Early this month Deputy speaker of Parliament Mr Jacob Oulanya accused Health Minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng for denying the existence of nodding syndrome within Acholi sub-region.
Mr Oulanyah who also doubles as the Omoro County Member of Parliament said Dr Aceng statements were wrong considering the fact that suspected new cases are being reported.
Dr Aceng had said that the health ministry last recorded a case of nodding syndrome in Northern Uganda in 2012 and that the syndrome is being confused with epilepsy.
Ngora County Member of Parliament Mr David Abala, who also doubles as Chairperson select committee of parliament said he was very disappointed with the manner through which minister for health Dr. Ruth Aceng and her technical team were handling the nodding syndrome issues.
“Of all things how could the minister deceive legislators about the life of our own children? I think government must act immediately to rescue the lives of these children just like they have always done to refugees coming to the country” he said
Mr Abala said the leaders were not doing enough in the fight against nodding syndrome thinking that the situation was normal.
“I apologies on behalf of my fellow legislators and government and promise to fight nodding syndrome out of Acholi sub-region and out of Uganda” he said
Dr Geoffrey Akena Nodding syndrome focal point person, said many families are dis-empowered they cannot afford a meal to their children who are victims of the syndrome.
“ Death are on the rise as we talk now,” he said
Kitgum has 583 cases of nodding syndrome and 1,451 cases of both Nodding Syndrome and Epilepsy.
It is estimated that 10 percent of children recovering from the syndrome have talking and walking difficulties.
The root cause of the syndrome is not yet established.
Nodding syndrome affects the victims mentally and physically retards their growth
The disease was first reported in 2003.The syndrome affects young children on average between the ages of 5 and 15.
The syndrome affected at least 6,000 children in Acholi sub-region. Approximately 300 are reported to have lost their lives.
Sodium Valpolate and fortified foods have helped in the reduction of the seizure in children. The cause and mode of spread are not yet found.