14 May 2012

Uganda: Nodding Disease Children Forced Out of School

Photo: James Eriku/Daily Monitor
Constant flow of saliva is one of the symptoms of nodding disease.

Many of the children suffering from the nodding disease syndrome have developed severe mental retardation and cannot go back to school to continue with education, a clinical officer in charge of Palabek-Kal Health Centre III, Dorothy Akwero, has said.

Akwero said most of the 61 patients, who were diagnosed with nodding disease at Palabek-Kal treatment centre, have failed to report back to receive more drugs.

"After every two weeks, they are supposed to return to the treatment centre and get drugs, but some of them fail to come back for lack of transport," she said.

Akwero made the revelation whilereceiving a donation of 100 mattresses from internal affairs minister Hillary Onek to help build a separate ward for the children suffering from the nodding disease syndrome in Palabek- Kal, Gem and Ogili sub-counties in Lamwo district on Thursday.

The mattresses were offered by Tian Tang Group Limited, a Chinese firm. Tian Tang also gave two grinding mills to the parents of children suffering from nodding disease in Palabek-Gem and Ogili sub-counties.

The grinding mills are meant to help the parents generate income. Akwero said due to inadequate space at the health centre, patients with the nodding disease syndrome were sharing rooms with other patients.

Onek appealed to the Chinese community in Uganda to help build a separate ward for the nodding disease patients at Palabek-Kal Health Centre III, which is one of the designated treatment centres for the disease.

The minister advised the parents and relatives to feed the victims of nodding disease, who are mainly children, with mukene fish.

"Don't despise mukene. It is very nutritious," he advised. Onek, who was accompanied by the chairman of Tian Tang Group Limited, Paul Zhang, urged parents not to neglect their children who are suffering from the nodding disease, saying it is not contagious.

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