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Govt Yet to Avail Funding for Nodding Syndrome

Although the Minister for Planning David Bahati had said Government has not yet got funding of up to 1.3 billion shillings, Finance Minister Minister Matia Kasaija said the money was there but he needed to look at the way to allocate it.
A teenager with nodding syndrome carries her baby

Audio 3

Members of Parliament have demanded for more attention to be provided towards the management of the Nodding Syndrome in Northern Uganda.

The MPs were on Tuesday responding to statements by the Minister of Health on financing nodding syndrome during plenary.

Although the Minister for Planning David Bahati had said Government has not yet got funding of up to 1.3 billion shillings, Finance Minister Minister Matia Kasaija said the money was there but he needed to look at the way to allocate it.

Members of Parliament who visited Northern Uganda to voluntarily ascertain the nodding disease situation say the situation was more alarming and Government should pay more attention to the strategy of funding it.

Winnie Kiiza, the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, who visited the affected districts, says the situation is alarming. She says people affected by nodding syndrome say Government has abandoned them. She says the 75 million shillings that has been allocated to the districts is peanuts.

According to the health Ministry, shillings 75 million is already disbursed to the affected districts.

Kiiza says Government should provide the familes of nodding syndrome victims with relief and farm inputs.

//Cue in: “We broke down…

Cue out:…heart for humanity.”//

David Abala, the Ngora County MP said contrary to what Government had said that services were being provided for the nodding syndrome  victims, the results show that children are badly off. Abala says some nodding children collapsed and were visibly vulnerable.

He says Government should do a thorough assessment of the disease.

//Cue in: “Two we got…

Cue out:…its not enough.”//

Moses Ali, the first Deputy prime Minister said the matter will be resolved tomorrow. He said the nodding syndrome is a great challenge that Government is interested in handling. He requested for the house to be adjourned until the next day for a more conclusive decision on funding.

//Cue in: “Mr Speaker sir…

Cue out:…see until tomorrow.”//

Government last week had announced an allocation of 1.4 billion shillings for nodding syndrome, which would be allocated in the next financial year budget.

There has been a heated debate on the nodding disease, which has so far claimed 130 children. The plight of the children suffering from the disease was highlighted in the media prompting politicians to call for government intervention.

The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah, whose home district of Omoro is also affected, blamed Government for neglecting the affected children. The exact cause and cure of nodding syndrome is unknown.

Nodding syndrome, according to the World Health Organisation, affects children between the ages of five and 15 years old, causing progressive cognitive dysfunction, neurological deterioration, stunted growth and a characteristic nodding of the head. Despite numerous and extensive investigations, very little is known about the cause of the disease. The districts affected are in Acholi and Lango areas.