Omoro, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Omoro district authorities are hunting for support from the government to reopen the Nodding Disease treatment center following its closure for more than a year due to lack of funding.
The Centre established in 2012 by the Development Partners was meant to offer care, treatment and rehabilitation to victims of the Nodding Disease Syndrome. Douglas Peter Okao, the Omoro District LC V Chairperson told URN that the closure of the center has greatly impacted the health of the victims.
According to Okao, two of the 217 victims in the district died after being returned to their parents when the center collapsed a year ago. He asks the Ministry of Health to consider reopening the Centre to support the rehabilitation, care and treatment of such children.
“We have submitted a budget of Shillings 850,000 to the Ministry of Health for a monthly administrative cost which excludes other expenses like for drugs” Okao revealed. Justine Ojok, the Omoro District Focal Point Person for the Nodding Disease Syndrome, says 45 children affected by the disease in the District are in critical condition.
Ojok says the District has been unable able to provide them transport to monitor the affected children from their respective villages in the last six months. “Home care has reduced and we have many of these children with relapses and convulsions and the other challenge we are registering now is sexual abuse,” Ojok revealed.
Jackie Akello, the in-charge Awere Health Centre III in Pader District, says many of the parents have not been able to take their children to the health facility for treatment due to transport challenges.
“Some of these children are in critical conditions and can’t be transported using Boda boda and the more they miss on the drugs the more their conditions become worse,” Akello explained.
Christine Akello, a mother of 5 children from Aromo Wang Lobo in Odek Sub County is one of the many parents whose children are battling with the Nodding Disease Syndrome.
Akello says she doesn’t only have a challenge of caring for her 19-year-old daughter who was handed over to her a year ago but also faces a problem of transporting her to Odek Health Centre III, which is over 10 kilometers away.
The Omoro District Woman Member of Parliament, Catherine Lamwaka says they are in talks with the government to reopen the center.
Dr. Joyce Moriko Kaduchu, the State Minister for Primary Health Care, says the government is willing to take control of the Centre a moment the Development Partners hand over the facility to the District.
“There is also even question of the ownership of the land where the Centre is built and the District needs to sort it out before blaming the government of paying no attention,” Dr. Kaduchu said. In March 2018, Parliament approved Shillings 1.3 billion for supporting interventions for the Nodding Disease Syndrome in Northern Uganda. Omoro was allocated Shillings 270 million.
Nodding Disease is a neurological condition with unknown origin. It was first documented in Tanzania in the 1960s, South Sudan in 1990s and later in Northern Uganda in 2007 after the community returned from the Internally Displaced Camps.