Nodding Syndrome Cash Lies Idle

More than 40 million shillings meant to finance nodding syndrome activities in Pader district is still lying idle, six months after release.

Nodding disease patients
Nodding disease patients

The money was meant for monitoring nodding syndrome affected children, supply of assorted drugs regiments and community outreaches between the months of January and May 2014.

Justine Lungajul, the Pader Resident District Commissioner, says delays in spending the funds instead plunged the district into acute shortage of the required drugs for the entire four months.

Lungajul was speaking to nodding syndrome affected community in Libi Village, Burlobo parish in Angagura sub-county on Friday. He said the money should have delivered food supplements to children affected by nodding syndrome in Awere and Angagura sub counties.

Lungajul said government was forced to withhold additional funding after Pader district failed to timely commit and show accountability for spent funds.

He said he detected the delays when the district nodding syndrome task-force panicked to repair two response vans ahead of a recent visit by President Yoweri Museveni.

Komakech Paul Oola, the Pader Nodding Syndrome Focal Person, denies foul play. He says activities could not progress as funds were all stuck in the new integrated Management and Financial System (IMFS) for months.

He says the task force resumed normal activities in June supplying food supplements and drugs to worst affected children in care at Atanga Nodding Syndrome Treatment Centre.

Alfred Akena, the Chairperson of the Nodding Syndrome Taskforce who is also the district chairperson confirmed that adequate drugs and food supplements are being delivered every two months.

Akena says the 1,998 children suffering from nodding syndrome in Pader district are responding well to treatment and food supplements.

He says government has disbursed an additional 70 million shillings to Pader district for outreach activities, supply of assorted drugs and monitoring.

According to Akena, the Ministry of Health is investigating six new suspected cases of nodding syndrome in Angagura and Awere sub counties. He says four are juvenile below five years while the other two are adults above 40 years of age.

If confirmed, the two adults will be the first to be diagnosed with the strange illness since it was reported in Acholi sub region in 2007.

Some medical sources have blamed the illness on lack of essential vitamins. This prompted government to supply fortified food supplements to affected children in the region after carrying out Aerial spray of rivers and streams, believed to be habitats for vectors responsible for spreading the syndrome.

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