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Parents Ask Gov’t to Relocate Omoro Nodding Disease Treatment Centre

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Michael Rachkara, the area LC 1 Chairperson, says that the Jaka-Akera clan donated the land in 2012 to Hope for Humans, a charity organization that built the centre to treat nodding syndrome patients.
15 Jul 2021 09:44
Hope for Humans signage at in Odek Sub-County - Photo by Dominic Ochola

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Parents with children battling the nodding syndrome in Omoro district want the government to relocate the treatment center from a disputed piece of land. This follows a decision by the Jaka-Akera clan to push for compensation for the six-acre piece of land hosting the defunct treatment center in Akoyo village, Lamola Parish in Odek sub-county.

 

Michael Rachkara, the area LC 1 Chairperson, says that the Jaka-Akera clan donated the land in 2012 to Hope for Humans, a charity organization that built the centre to treat nodding syndrome patients. The center, which was solely, financed by an American neurologist, Dr. Suzanne Gazda, closed shop in 2017 due to funding shortfalls.    

The organization handed over the center to Omoro District Local Government. However, over 80 households of the clan want the government to compensate them by employing their sons and daughters in different entities.

In a petition delivered to the Office of the Prime Minister through Omoro District Local Government in 2018, Jaka-Akera Clan also want the government to reward each of the households 30 pieces of iron sheets, a pair of oxen and ox-ploughs to boost their livelihood.  

David Ojok, another parent says rising and safeguarding the patients against fire, water and abuse by evil-minded people from home is so demanding, arguing that the government should seek an alternative space to build a new treatment center.  

//Cue in..."Ma kijuk centa….”  

Cue out… Pader bene mukene.”//

 

Richard Lukica is another concerned parent in neighbouring Ajan village. He says that instead of the government bowing to the compensation pressure, it should solicit for alternative land elsewhere and construct a befitting center for the patients.



 

//Cue in..."Peko tye matek….  

Cue out… ikin gang kany.”//  

Omoro District Health Officer, Robert Ongom, disclosed that over 120 households largely in Odek Sub-County have children suffering from the condition. He says the District monitors their situation through monthly outreach programs.

   

//Cue in..."Through the District…..”  

Cue out… more medications.”//

Douglas Peter Okello, the Omoro District Chairperson says the condition of the patients remain appalling, adding that in 2019, he wrote to the Office of the Prime Minister requesting that the households be supported with livestock to improve their livelihoods in vain.

//Cue in..."I have advocated….”    

Cue out… we are looking at.”//

Some parents say the defunct Hope for Humans Centre was home to over 3000 children with nodding disease drawn from the eight districts of Acholi and parts of Lango sub-region. At the centre they were fed on nutritious meals and offered accommodation, care and treatment.

The nodding disease and epilepsy epidemic started around 2000 and declined in 2008. No new case has been recorded since 2015. Overall, 2,143 nodding syndrome cases and 137 deaths were reported between 2012 and 2017, according to the Ministry of Health. Most of the cases that had been reported as Nodding Syndrome turned out to be epilepsy.

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