Pader Residents Seek Rehabilitation For Nodding Syndrome Victims

1640 Views Pader, Uganda

In short
James Opira, a teacher in Atanga Primary school says many parents he has interacted with believe that school teachers are untrained to handle children with low cognitive abilities. Although nodding syndrome has been reported in Gulu, Kitgum, Oyam, Pader, Agago and parts of Lira district, only Gulu and Kitgum have a rehabilitation centers for children affected by the disease.

Families of victims of the Nodding Syndrome in Pader district want government to rehabilitate them through special needs education, specialised counseling and corrective surgery. 60-year-old Kerobina Lagum is a grandmother of six victims of the nodding syndrome in Bolo Parish Awere Sub County. 



Her village is located some 30 Kilometers away from Awere health Center III. Lagum says she cannot afford to return the children at Awere Health center III for treatment when drugs run out at Bolo Health Center II. According to Lagum, she could find time to produce food for her family if there was a rehabilitation center in the sub county. 


Alice Akello, the in charge of Bolo Health Center II agrees with Lagum. She says many of the victims reporting for treatment are traumatised due to stigma, isolation and abuse. She says at least 15 girls below 15 years of age have been treated for defilement and rape in the area in the past years. 
 

Dr. Alex Layoo says the village has 141 cases of nodding syndrome. He says at least 200 of the victims have returned to school since the disease broke out in 2009. He however, says the cognitive abilities of the children remains low. He says many of the victims require special needs education to fully recover from the devastation of the disease. 
 

Jackline Ajok, a victim of the nodding syndrome is nursing her 8- months- old baby. Her mother says she was defiled on a market day when she wandered away from home. She says calming Ajok is such a difficult task for the faint hearted. She also wants government to consider constructing separate facilities for the children.
 

Pader district has a single special needs education school where mentally impaired children are admitted. Uganda Radio Network visited Paipii Primary School and found just a handful of special needs children.

 
Those with nodding syndrome are considered a burden to society and are therefore kept out of schools. James Opira, a teacher in Atanga Primary school says many parents he has interacted with believe that school teachers are untrained to handle children with low cognitive abilities. 


Although nodding syndrome has been reported in Gulu, Kitgum, Oyam, Pader, Agago and parts of Lira district, only Gulu and Kitgum have a rehabilitation centers for children affected by the disease. The centers in Odek and Tumangu villages are being operated by Hope for Humans, a non-governmental organization.