Parliament has passed a motion compelling government to find money to tackle nodding disease that has affected children in Northern Uganda.
Jack Sabiiti, Rukiga County MP, moved the motion asking government to identify funds for research and to feed the affected persons and that the Minister of Health brings supplementary budget within two days.
MPs especially from Northern Uganda where the disease is found have persistently complained that the government was not doing much to address the situation. More than 200 people have died with another 3,000 now battling the disease. Nodding disease has affected the districts of Pader, Kitgum and Lamwo.
State Minister for Health, Richard Nduhura pointed out that there have been measures undertaken by the ministry to help fund the fight against nodding disease. The Ministries of Health and Finance have reallocated funds amounting to 1.1 billion shillings towards the fight.
Nduhura explained that National Drug Authority is supplying medicine and other health supplies worth 750 million shillings in the emergency response plan.
//Cue in:with the agreement ofâ€¦â€¦..
Cue out:â€¦750 million shillings.//
The Ministry of Health had tendered in a request to Ministry of Finance for a supplementary budget amounting to 3.8 billion shillings out of the seven billion shillings needed to handle the disease.
Despite his explanation, the MPs needed more action by government in their response. They gave government two days to bring the supplementary budget before parliament for consideration.
Nodding disease is a fatal, mentally and physically disabling disease that mostly affects children between the ages of 10 and 19. The other category affected is between new born and 9 year olds as indicated in the November 2011 survey by the Ministry of Health.
An infected child appears to be falling asleep; the eyes close and head drops, even though they may not be tired and the condition gets progressively worse and can cause a child to fall and injure themselves.
Other symptoms include losing cognitive ability and experiencing stunted growth among others. Some children die of infections because they are weak or malnourished.
The disease was first reported in Uganda in 2009 and later new cases were reported in December 2011. A similar illness was first reported in Tanzania in the 1960s, Liberia in 1983 and South Sudan in 2003.