Child Dies Of Nodding Syndrome Amidst Drug Scarcity In Kitgum

1687 Views Kitgum, Uganda

In short
Another child has died of nodding syndrome in Kitgum district amidst claims of lack of drugs for treating the condition.

Another child has died of nodding syndrome in Kitgum district amidst claims of lack of drugs for treating the mysterious disease.
The deceased has been identified as Aber Betty, 17, a resident of Tumangu village, Lamit Parish in Akwang Sub County.
Otto Joe, the chairperson of the Tumangu village Health Teams, says Aber died two weeks ago due to lack of drugs to control recurrent seizures. He says the village ran out of drugs three weeks ago.
Aber’s body was laid to rest last Thursday after a team of health workers from the Ministry of Health conducted postmortem to ascertain the cause of death and collect samples for further investigations.
Otto says Aber is the 15th child that Akwang Sub County has lost to the dreaded disease; out of which 11 died from Tumangu alone.  He says the situations of nodding syndrome has been heavily politicized that the exact numbers of dead is concealed from the public.
But Luka Nyeko, the chairperson of District Nodding Syndrome Taskforce, says only 11 children have died in the entire district since the disease was reported in Kitgum in 2011. He says the battle against the syndrome is largely won because of the swift response government took. Nyeko says four of the children died from hospitals where they were receiving treatment while another 7 died from their homes.
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Nyeko says another 4 were raped by and maintains that the Ministry of Health has supplied enough drugs to all nodding syndrome treatment centres. He says even food has been delivered in plenty over the Christmas holidays.
Most of the children dying from nodding syndrome fall in water or fire while their parents are out in gardens or away from home.
At least 5,000 children are suffering from Nodding Syndrome in Kitgum district, mainly in Tumangu, Kitgum Matidi and Okidi Villages.


About the author

Peter Labeja
Peter Labeja has been a practicing journalist for the last 13 years during which he has covered part of the brutal conflict which bedeviled Northern Uganda as well as the painful transition to Peace thereafter. Emerging post conflict issues such as land rights of under privileged widows and orphans, challenges of access to social services in the immediate aftermath of Lord’s Resistance Army conflict in Northern Uganda.

Labeja is now the Northern Uganda Bureau chief in Acholi Sub Region since 2014 - Gulu, Amuru, Nwoya and Omoro districts as well as South Sudan falls within his areas of jurisdiction. He previously worked with The Vision Group for four years.

Labeja’s major career interests are in Climate Change; Agriculture and Environment - natural resources such as Water, Oil and Gas; Transitional Justice; Human Rights, Democracy and Governance as well as South Sudan’s humanitarian crisis. In 2013, Labeja was awarded a prestigious Pan African Journalism Award for excellence in journalism at United Nation’s UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya for Climate Change and Health Reporting.