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Women tie themselves to trees over nodding disease

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By AGATHA AYEBAZIBWE

Posted  Thursday, March 8   2012 at  00:00
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Kampala

Women activists tied themselves on trees for 30 minutes yesterday to show solidarity with mothers whose children are suffering from nodding disease syndrome.

The women expressed concern for their colleagues in Acholi Sub-region, condemning government’s failure to quickly address the nodding disease problem.
They said mothers in northern Uganda are suffering psychologically because of having to tie their sick children to trees to save them from injury when they fall.

“It is not acceptable for any parent to think that the only option left to save their children is by tying them to trees when they have a government whose mandate is to ensure that the citizens exercise their right to good health and access to medical attention wherever and whenever necessary,” said Ms Jackline Asiimwe, a women rights activist.

With sisal ropes around their bodies, about 50 women helped each other tie themselves to trees at the NGO Forum offices in Kampala. They observed moment of silence and prayed for the deceased children.

National problem
They asked the government to address the issue as a national problem and not a northern Uganda issue. Placards reading: “Women in the north are also mothers, save the future of Acholi now”, together with photos of the some of the victims tied to trees were displayed by the women.

The Kitgum Woman Member of Parliament, Ms Beatrice Anywar, said nodding disease is a sign of a failed service delivery. “When there was a foot and mouth disease outbreak in western Uganda, Parliament was called from recess, a supplementary budget passed and the area declared a disaster, why can’t they do the same for people? Unless cows in western Uganda are more important than people in Acholi!” Ms Anywar said.

ayebazibwe@ug.nationmedia.com