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
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
//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
//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.