An abandoned 12-year-old boy who is suffering from nodding disease is starving at Gulu Hospital where he is admitted.
The boy only identified as Ochaya was early this week found abandoned at the office of the Gulu Resident District Commissioner (RDC). He had been placed there overnight by unidentified people.
The RDC Chrissy Owor picked the boy and took him to Gulu Central Police Station where he spent a night before being taken to Gulu Referral Hospital on Tuesday.
At Gulu Referral Hospital, the boy is admitted in the mental unit where he is fighting for his life after spending three days without eating food.
The boy, who is half naked, lies motionless on his hospital bed with clenched fists. Lily Grace Aloyi, a nurse at the unit says the victim had not eaten since Monday when he was brought to the hospital.
She explains that sometimes the boy gestures to communicate that he wants something to eat but he has no one to offer him food. She says the boy also urgently needs a blanket.
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Johnson Kilama, the Northern Regional Police Spokesperson, says the police have not been able to trace the parents of the victim. Kilama, however, suspects the boy could have been brought at the RDC’s office by relatives.
The Ministry of Health estimates that about 3,000 children have contracted the nodding disease in northern Uganda, while 200 have died.
Outbreaks were first reported in Pader, Lamwo and Kitgum districts in 2009, but the disease has since spread to neighboring Gulu and Amuru.
Because of lack a cure, parents are frustrated and some are forced to tie their children with nodding disease syndrome on trees.