By Abalo Irene Otto
Legislators from Acholi Parliamentary Group have this week camped in Northern Uganda on a fact finding mission to establish the current state of children suffering from Nodding syndrome in the region.
On Monday, the team of six legislators led by the Secretary General, APG Gilbert Olanya visited Omoro and Pader districts where children continue to suffer from the disease that remains mysterious to scientists.
The MPs are; Okin PP (Chua West), Lucy Aciro, (Aruu North), Odonga Otto (Aruu South), Gilbert Olanya (Kilak South), Simon Oyet (Nwoya), Betty Aol Ocan (Gulu Woman MP) and Peter Okot (Tochi County),
"We are here to find out what is on ground so that we can write a comprehensive report and present to parliament again. This disease is silently killing our children and yet there is no result on the cause of the disease and how it can be treated," Olanya told Omoro district chairman, Douglas Peter Okello from Lalogi Sub County, Omoro district headquarter.
Okello noted that the suffering children are relapsing in their conditions because the single organization, Hope for Human Care Centre in Aromo Wang Lobo in Odek Sub County withdrew support due to government reluctance to join hands with the donor. The donor withdrew in December, 2017.
Currently, there are 254 patients in the communities of Odek Sub County. Since 12th March, 2012 when the first case was reported in Aromo Wang Lobo, 18 children have died.
In Pader district, over 2,000 children in 6 sub counties have the disease. Atanga has 878 registered cases, Angagura over 200, Laguti over 300 while others are in Lapul and Acholi Bur.
The MPs visited Bolo Health Centre II which manages some case of nodding syndrome since the Health Centre III in Odek is about 8kms away.
Lucy Aciro, Aruu North Member of Parliament believes that the disease is another war in northern Uganda.
"This disease is worse that HIV/AIDS. I wonder why they should increase Salaries of MPs when children are here suffering. And for the case of this disease, parliament should take it on beyond legislation," she said.
Aciro commended concerted government efforts to remit funds meant specifically to support nodding syndrome treatment and families.
The legislators observed that no new cases of the disease have been registered though overwhelming challenges exist in managing cases in the community.
Nodding syndrome is a disease that derives its name from the signs and symptoms of forward nodding of the head of the sufferers. Stunted growth, loss of weight, frequents seizures and uncontrolled flow of saliva also manifest in the patients.