MPs to Set Up Centre For Nodding Disease Victims

Kitgum Woman Member of Parliament Beatrice Anywar is seeking to set up a collection centre in the district for the over 7000 nodding disease victims in the Acholi sub region.

The MP, who has just returned from a fundraising tour in the United Kingdom, says she has so far collected over 3,000 Pounds to start up the centre.

Anywar says they have resorted to convincing donors who want money channeled direct to the beneficiaries to avoid cases of diversion. The fundraising drive will be both local and in European countries.

The centre shall be used not only as a preventive centre but to roll it out as a research, rehabilitation and counseling centre. Anywar also reveals that they are ready to buy 30 iron sheets for the centre so far.

She said the Ugandans living in the Diaspora have agreed to form the Ugandan Doctors Committee to use their means to come and undertake research on nodding syndrome. Anywar claims that the rehabilitation centres set up by government are nonfunctional and thus the need to bring the affected children back to Mulago National Referral Hospital.

She reveals that there are 30 new cases of the disease that was first reported in 2009. Most of the victims are between 11 to 18 years old.  Anywar claims that some girls were also raped and are now giving birth to children who have inherited the disease and these babies will be brought to Mulago hospital.

Ayivu County MP Bernard Atiku says even though Parliament debated and set up a select committee led by Mbarara Municipality MP Medard Bitekyerezo, it is saddening that the committee report has never been presented to the House.  Parliament also unanimously passed a resolution to give the Ministry of Health 400 million shillings to handle issues of medical care and victims’ welfare but the money has not been released.

Speaking to our reporter on Tuesday, MP Bitekyerezo said his committee completed the report even before the end of the second Parliament session. He says the report was put on the order paper set for presentation on the floor of Parliament, but it is no more. He is now pushing for time allocation for him and his team of Doctors to present their findings.

Atiku states that the Northern Belt is in imminent danger with continuous outbreaks of diseases such as hepatitis B and the Nodding syndrome.

Kilak County MP Gilbert Oulanya says they are organizing to bring all the affected children to Mulago so as to easily access the support financially and medically. He also accuses the Centre for Disease Control, a US disease research and monitoring centre, for not revealing any findings as per their ongoing investigations on the disease.

In April this year Asumani Lukwago, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health announced that they were in the process of sending brain samples to the Centre for Disease Control in Atlanta for critical analysis. However, the process was yet to be cleared by the United States.

There is still no effective treatment for Nodding disease, an ailment that has killed at least 300 children in Acholi sub region over the past few years.

On June 26 last year, President Museveni launched the nodding syndrome treatment centre at Atanga Health Centre. The Ministry of Health also released 150 million shillings to support case management and train health experts to handle the disease.

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