Covid-19 doubles burden for families with nodding syndrome in Northern Uganda
Lira, Uganda Social March 4 @ 3:53pm
In the districts of Oyam and Lira in Lango Sub-region, several children have fallen ill with a fatal, incurable disease known as nodding disease. The communities continue to panic and some people are losing hope while they watch their beloved children die helplessly.
Nodding syndrome (NS) is a neurological condition with unknown etiology. It was first documented in the United Republic of Tanzania (URT) in the 1960s, then later in the Republic of South Sudan in the 1990s, and in northern Uganda in 2007. Typically, NS affects children between the ages of 5 and 15 years old, causing progressive cognitive dysfunction, neurological deterioration, stunted growth, and a characteristic nodding of the head.
To date, Nodding Syndrome is known to occur in northern Uganda (Pader, Kitgum, and Lamwo districts, with new cases starting to present in Gulu, Amuru, Oyam, and Lira districts). While the country puts its focus on the coronavirus, little or no attention has been given to these children living in the rural areas of Lira and Oyam Districts, and yet they require special attention and care.
This feature story will focus on how families with nodding disease syndrome have been struggling throughout the lockdown, considering that the government offered little attention to ensure their safety. I shall also reach out to families who have lost their children to NS during the lockdown.