Dr. Christine Ondoa says preliminary results show that Nodding syndrome is a multifaceted disease composed of a mix of nutritional, psychiatric, behavioural and cognitive disorders.
Dr. Ondoa says children suffering from Nodding syndrome are currently being given high energy supplements for nutrition.
Initially government was treating the patients using Carbimazole but has now changed the treatment kit to sodium valproate which Ondoa says is more effective in treating epilepsy.
Research carried out on the children also indicates that most of them suffer from vitamin deficiency and are being given vitamin supplements.
//Cue in: This syndrome is multitude…”
Cue out: …effective than carbimazole.”//
Dr. Ondoa says they are stepping up measures to tackle the high prevalence of Onchocerciasis, which is caused by onchocerca microfilariae, the worm that causes river blindness.
A drug called Ivermectin, is used to kill the river blindness worms. Ondoa says that they plan to launch the mass distribution and consumption of the drug to affected communities.
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Cue out:… microfilariae in the blood.”//
Dr.Anthony Mbonye, the commissioner in charge of health services, says they have so far commissioned an Environment Ecological study in Pader, the worst hit district so far. Surveillance reports from the Ministry of Health indicate that Pader is the worst hit district with about 1,700 cases. The total number of cases is over 3000.
The research does not show the cause for nodding syndrome, but the disease is associated with epilepsy. He also reveals that so far they have recorded 170 deaths.
At Mulago national referral hospital all the 25 patients are reported to be stable, but 22 were found to be epileptic. One patient was diagonised with a brain tumour and was immediately operated.
Various investigations including blood work up, scans for the brain, heart and abdomen using CT-scans, Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and Electro Encephalogram have been carried out.
By Thursday evening, Atanga Health centre 11 had recorded the highest number of cases registering 437 patients. All the cases were screened and diagonised with the Nodding syndrome. A total of 38 patients were admitted and being the largest health centre is being manned by 15 health workers.
Kitgum general hospital had by close of day yesterday recorded 40 patients and admitted five severe cases while Palabek Kal Health centre 11 ad registered only nine cases with no admissions.
Ondoa also announced that starting tomorrow Friday outreach programmes in Lamwo and Kitgum screening centres will begin. Patients will be treated from their communities while the severely ill cases will be referred to treatment centres.
Government has released 1.1 billion shs out of the 3.8 needed for implementation of activities under the first phase of the response plan.
The money has been channeled for research, surveillance, case management and social mobilization among others. A further 2.7 billion has been promised by the Ministry of Finance.