17 June 2012

Uganda: MPs Ask Govt to Release Report On Nodding Disease

Members of Parliament have asked Government to release the report on nodding disease so as to curb the epidemic.

"Government should seriously consider releasing its report on the findings by the Centre for Disease Controls (CDC) about the nodding syndrome," Dr. Medard Bitekyerezo (NRM), the chairman of social service Parliamentary Committee said.

Over 200 children have been affected by the nodding disease since its outbreak early this year.

A team of researchers from Atlanta Georgia have been researching on the cause of the nodding syndrome since last year and have not made their findings public.

"People have been speculating a lot about the disease therefore, Government should ally peoples' fear and save the situation," Serere Woman MP Alice Alaso (FDC) said.

The lawmakers who were on Saturday on spot assessment of the nodding disease in the districts of Pader, Lamwo, Kitgum and Gulu stressed the need of finding the lasting solution to the epidemic.

Alaso noted that even it meant declaring the four districts disaster areas so it be.

The MPs were backed by the Kitgum LC5 chairman Luke Nyeko who said the situation is worrying because some people are already associating the disease with witch-craft.

The legislators expressed concern about Government's food supply to the affected families saying it was inadequate.

Each affected child is given four kilograms of posh and beans for two weeks according to Nicole Nancy Nyeko a nursing officer in charge of nodding disease of Atanga Health Centre III in Pader district.

As MPs visited the affected children in health centres, a group of women rights activists spearheaded by Uganda Women's Network supplied food items and clothes to the victims to supplement Government's efforts.

Governments through the Office of Prime Minister and in partnership with Uganda Red Cross Society are in charge of food distribution.

The legislators also expressed concern about the stunted patients saying that it could be due to lack of food.

"We found out that victims of nodding disease were stunted. A child of 15 years old looked like a child of 8- year- old. This is strange," Bitekyerezo remarked.

Bitekyerezo who led a team of seven legislators said the committee would liaise with Gulu research centre to tell the public about their research findings on the exact cause of nodding disease.

The Members of Parliament who visited the districts affected by the nodding disease included Capt. Susan Lakot (UPDF), Iki-Iki county Jeremiah Twatwa (NRM), Pallisa county Jacob Opolot (NRM), Kalungu west Joseph Sewungu (NRM) and Agago Woman MP Franca Akello (FDC).

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