Over the last few days I have received thousands of emails in response to the video I put out in response to KONY2012. Most of the emails were from grateful people who had learnt something from my video. I am unable to read all the responses and reply you all at this time but your efforts are very much appreciated. Most responses indicated they want to support the Ugandan child and be sure that the help goes to the right cause.
More than 3000 children in northern Uganda are currently battling a mysterious disease that has come to be known as nodding disease. Please read more from Wikipedia about Nodding Disease. There are so far 170 reported deaths. In brief, nodding disease is a mentally and physically disabling disease that only affects children between the ages of 5 and 15. Victims get seizures on the smell of food or when they get cold. Read more from previous blog The World Health Organisation and Centre for Disease Control (CDC) have been working on research to establish the cause and how the disease is transmitted with no success so far.
Why we need to act fast:
With the healthcare system in northern Uganda wrecked by war and in a country where the right to healthcare is not guaranteed, most children suffering from this disease have been going through unbearable suffering. Parents are forced to painfully tie their children to trees. I visited the Mulago National referral Hospital last week as part of women’s group to give a small hand to the caretakers of 25 children who were brought from northern Uganda to Kampala.
Women activists in Uganda this week tied themselves to trees to protest government slow response and the continued psychological torture mothers in northern Uganda are going through despite end of the war. The government has not yet released the 7 billion shillings needed to support the victims and families.
How to act:
Northern Uganda has great leaders who have been campaigning to get more funds and medical attention to the victims. Beatrice Anywar, the Woman Member of Parliament for Kitgum is one of the finest. She’s not just a politician; the whole of Uganda knows her activism on corruption and environmental issues. Last year, the US Mission in Uganda gave her the Woman of Courage Award for her work. Anywar has been on radios and TVs calling for donations to help victims. I spoke to her this morning via phone from Kitgum in northern Uganda where she is meeting grassroots leaders, community health teams to look for ways to deal with those suffering from the disease. More than 3000 children cannot go to school or access the available medical help to ease their suffering. If you want to donate to a cause and help out in reconstructing northern Uganda and bringing communities back to their feet please support Anywar and others battling nodding disease.
More images from the north on Echwalu’s Blog and a story of a tormented girl victim of nodding disease. Hashtag #NoddingDisease to raise awareness.