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Nodding Disease Caused 130 Deaths In Northern Uganda

Health Minister, Ruth Aceng denied having neglected the affected persons.
Isaac Okema, died of nodding syndrome at 10 years old
One hundred and thirty seven people have so far died of the nodding disease syndrome since 2007 when it was first reported in Uganda.

Health Minister, Dr. Ruth Aceng told a press Conference in Kampala that the deaths were in Amuru, Lamwo, Omoro, Pader and Kitgum districts.

Reports have in the past indicated that over three hundred people have died from the disease who cause and origin is yet to be discovered. But Aceng disputes the reports saying they vary from officially recorded data.

She said Ministry of health records indicate that  Amuru district registering 4 deaths which occurred between 2016 and 2017 while  Lamwo district ten deaths  between 2012 and 2018, Kitgum district registering 33 deaths, most of which occurred between 2012 and 2014.

Omoro district according to Aceng had 9 deaths between 2015 and 2017 while Pader had the highest number of deaths at 81 to date.

The Minister says only one death has so far been registered this year. The person who died this year according to Aceng was under management but he unfortunately drowned in a river.

She says the burden of the Nodding Syndrome by District currently stands at; 806 in Pader, 544 in Kitgum 339 in Lamwo, 323 in Gulu and Omoro, 58 in Amuru, and 13 in Lira, making a total of 2,143 cases to date.

The nodding diseases syndrome continues to arise emotions in Nothern Uganda with some leaders saying the government has not done enough to provide support and care to those suffering from it.

Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah also Omoro County MP is the latest politician from Northern Uganda to complain against failure by government to support those suffering from the disease.

Oulanyah in a televised interview accused the government of neglecting children suffering from Nodding Disease Syndrome in Northern Uganda.

He was critical of the criticized the manner the government has handled the situation of the children saying the plight of those suffering from the Syndrome was getting worse especially following the closure of the special centre last year.

“It is mortifying for government to ignore these children. A government that does not care for its children is a government with no future,” Oulanyah said in television clip that has been shared on social media.

“If you travel to Northern Uganda and look at these children, you cannot believe that they live in Uganda. And this problem is not new. Why has government abandoned these children as if they are not Ugandans?” Oulanyah asked.

Dr. Aceng in what appeared like a response to the Speaker's outburst said the government has continued to provide funding to districts affected by nodding syndrome.

She revealed that 1.8 billion shillings has been disbursed to date towards nodding disease in the North. Nodding syndrome (NS) is a  according to WHO is neurological condition with unknown cause or origin.

It was first documented in the United Republic of Tanzania (URT) in the 1960s, then later in the Republic of South Sudan in the 1990s and in northern Uganda in 2007.