Nodding Disease: Families Turn To Lorena Stoves As More Children Get Burnt

2816 Views Pader, Uganda

In short
Suzan Adong Auma, a social worker with Caritas in Pader says at least two victims of the nodding disease reportedly get burnt each month.

Caritas, a catholic church founded organization has embarked on training communities affected by the nodding syndrome in Pader district to construct Lorena Fuel stoves to reduce on the use of open fire stoves. A Lorena fuel stove is built using mud and straw.
The move by Caritas is aimed at reducing the number of nodding victims who get burnt whenever they suffer attacks. Last month four children got seriously burnt as a result of the nodding syndrome. 

Suzan Adong Auma, a social worker with Caritas in Pader says at least two victims of the nodding disease reportedly get burnt each month. She explains that whenever the affected children get fits they tend to fall anywhere and sometimes end up in fire and hot water, which exposes them to burns.
//Cue in: “but we are now……..
Cue out:…….and train them”//
Adong says once adopted the Lorena stoves, will reduce the risk of these children being burnt since there is no space for them to reach the fire hole on the stove. Caritas is targeting to build 120 Lorena stoves in Libi village in Burlobo parish in Pader district and hopes to expand t5he project to other sub counties.
50-year-old Valerina Lanyom a guardian of two victims of the nodding syndrome in Libi village in Angagura Sub County is excited about the Lorena stoves saying she has already had a rough experience with fire. In addition to protecting the children, the stove also saves on wood fuel consumption.

Nodding syndrome is an unexplained neurologic condition characterized by episodes of repetitive dropping forward of the head, often accompanied by other seizure-like activity, such as convulsions or staring spells. The condition predominantly affects children aged 5–15 years and has been reported in South Sudan from the states of Western and Central Equatoria, in Northern Uganda and southern Tanzania.

Currently documented cases of nodding syndrome total to over 3,000 out of which more than 170 have died. There are over 1,500 cases of nodding syndrome in Pader alone.

Last week, scientists at the US Centre for Disease Control (CDC) laboratory in Atlanta, who have been investigating the cause nodding syndrome, said they had found crystal-like substances in portions of the victims’ brains.


About the author

Alex Otto
“Journalism that changes lives is my goal,” Alex Otto has said on more than one occasion. That is his career’s guiding principle. Has been since he was a radio journalist in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu in 2009.

Otto passionately believes his journalism should bring to the fore the voices of the voiceless like the shooting victims of Apaa. Otto tries in his journalism to ask tough questions to those in positions of authority.

Based in the Kampala bureau, Otto is especially interested in covering agriculture, politics, education, human rights, crime, environment and business. He has reported intensively on the post-conflict situation in northern Uganda.

A URN staff member since 2014, Otto previously worked with The Observer Newspaper from 2012 to 2013 and later the Institute for War and Peace Reporting IWPR based in Gulu.

He was the URN Gulu bureau chief 2014-2016.