By Ahura Mujuni Mark
Though government has so far injected sh7 billion to address the nodding disease ,funded researchers and nutritionists to handle the nodding disease,these efforts are yet to reflect in the region ,more 119 cases have been registered adding to the earlier great numbers registered by the health ministry.
The latest reports from northern Uganda indicate that patients are now using herbs as a relief to the disease.Alfred Ojara is one of the celebrated herbalists in the area.He was earlier known for treating malaria, meningitis, malnourishment among other diseases but was recently forced to take on the nodding disease which continue to cause misery in northern Uganda.
He offers treatment to locals and is able to relieve painful symptoms of the Nodding syndrome.Unfortunately the Ministry of Health is against his medication and has already branded him a criminal in the area.
“He is a criminal,” said Dr. Bernard Opar, the Ministry of health (MoH) coordinator for Nodding Disease. “He’s extorting money from people and he doesn’t know what he is treating.” Black star news quoted him saying
Some locals however appreciate the work he is doing for them and are happy that he asks for little money. Ojara charges Shs 2,000 to Shs 5,000 and nothing beyond.
Ojara has also visited the children of Ojuru village in Pader for a group treatment. Children were brought to see him from surrounding huts in varying conditions
Nodding syndrome is a progressive disease that attacks with seizures; it’s normally characterized by an uncontrollable nodding of the head. The disease ultimately renders children physically and mentally disabled; it is fatal for most.
The Ministry of Health says it plans to set up outreach sites in areas that have a high concentration of nodding disease cases. They include Anak, Parachel, Padibe East and West.Others are Paloga and Lukumu sub-county.
A team of health experts has been dispatched to Gulu district to verify the magnitude o the nodding syndrome.
The team comprises paediatricians, nutritionists and psychiatrists, among others and is expected to work with Gulu regional referral hospital staff.