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Hunger forces learners with nodding syndrome out of school

Nodding syndrome child. File/URN photo

Kitgum, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Dozens of learners suffering from nodding syndrome have abandoned classes due to hunger.

A report from Alune Primary School in Kitgum district indicates that the thirty learners with nodding syndrome who had enrolled in the school have all abandoned studies in the past months.

The school administration says that they cannot manage the learners with such conditions due to the lack of food provision noting that they failed to implement the school feeding program due to adamancy from parents and guardians.

Last year, the administration proposed that each learner contributes 10 kilograms of beans, 15 kilograms of maize flour, and 3,000 shillings to facilitate the school feeding program.

However, parents and guardians note that they were incapacitated to meet the requirements due to the persistent dry spell which had been experienced in their areas for the last three months causing crop gardens to wither.

John Okura, the Alune Primary School Deputy Headteacher told URN that the school enrolment of learners with the nodding syndrome condition has drastically reduced since they complain of hardships in concentration with no food from schools and little food from home.

Okura added that the children with nodding syndrome condition end up collapsing when hungry adding that the lack of food provisions has kept them out of school.

Bosco Oringa, a parent of two children suffering from nodding syndrome condition noted that his family is unable to provide packed food for the learners hence keeping them at home to reduce the burden.

Oringa says like any other farmer in the Acholi sub-region, several acres of his crop gardens withered due to the persistent dryness being experienced, something he says has left them struggling to get food.

Christopher Arwai, the Kitgum LCV Chairperson says that the problems associated with food shortage are spread across the entire district. He explained that the district is currently mobilizing support from well-wishers and lobbying from the government to support the most affected categories which among them are the families with nodding syndrome.

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