Museveni wants compulsory nodding disease treatment

President Museveni has called for the compulsory taking of river blindness drugs to fight the nodding disease syndrome. Speaking during the launch of a treatment centre for the disease syndrome at Lacekocot in Atanga Sub-county, Pader District, at the weekend, the President said he will camp in Acholi sub-region to command the exercise.

The President said he would defeat the nodding disease syndrome just as he did with the elusive LRA leader Joseph Kony. “All of you must prepare to take drugs when I return to command war against it in next financial year. We will defeat the disease,” he said.

Mr Museveni added that he was informed that children diagnosed with the disease had onchocerciasis (river blindness) worms. The president also promised to give food and financial support to parents of children suffering from the disease.

The Pader Woman MP, Ms Lowila Oketayot, said some parents were committing suicide due to the disease and poverty. “The suicide is not about lawlessness, it’s because they are poor and burdened by this disease. Many will still continue to die if no urgent solution is rendered to them,” she said.

The officer in-charge of Atanga Health Centre III, Mr Denis Nockrach, said they were overwhelmed by the high number of patients. “The last two weeks we received 596 children, 414 were diagnosed with nodding disease and the remaining ones had epilepsy,” Mr Nockrach said.

He said they have changed the treatment from cabomazipine oral solution to sodium valporate, which has shown improvement because it contained fortified food element. The Principal Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health, Dr Bernard Opar, told Daily Monitor that they were not sure whether the nodding disease kills children.

“They may be dying of different thing like starvation and it’s still subject to research. We are committed to investigating,” Dr Opar said. Many parents of the children suffering from the nodding disease syndrome have expressed pessimism over the ability of the health facilities to treat their children.

Ms Christine Adyero, the mother of a child suffering from the nodding disease syndrome, said the health centre was not providing food and clean water for their children.

By Sam Lawino  (email the author)
Posted  Monday, March 26  2012 at  00:00



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