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Govt not doing enough to fight nodding syndrome, says bishop

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By  DAVID LIVINGSTONE OKUMU

Posted  Thursday, December 13  2012 at  02:00

In Summary

Nodding disease affected communities, could be a result of the trauma caused by the government’s ‘minimal’ attention towards their plight in terms of medical care and social welfare.

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The Bishop of Northern Uganda Diocese, the Rt. Rev Johnson Gakumba, has castigated the government for what he described as its sluggish and inadequate response towards the nodding disease syndrome, saying the victims deserve more attention.

Speaking during a function to commemorate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Day in Odek Sub- county in Gulu District on Monday, Bishop Gakumba, said the increasing suicide cases in the region, especially among the nodding disease affected communities, could be a result of the trauma caused by the government’s ‘minimal’ attention towards their plight in terms of medical care and social welfare.

“There is need to be serious by investigating why there are high rates of suicide and domestic violence this year. The nodding syndrome has made people lose hope in their own children because the government is not doing enough to treat them and also find lasting solution to the problem,” he said.

However, the Minister for Health, Dr Christine Ondoa, said in Pader District during the launch of the aerial spraying exercise to curb black flies that are suspected to spread the ailment, that her ministry was doing everything possible to find a solution to the problem.

Response to ailment
The Health ministry has been relying on epilepsy drugs to control the seizures associated with the syndrome while feeding the victims, most of whom are children, on fortified food to boost their immunities.

The government currently has three nodding syndrome treatment, feeding and investigation centres in Pader, Kitgum and Lamwo districts.

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