American Neurologist Calls For More Study As "Nodding" Disease Afflicts Uganda

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 [Global: Uganda] 
 
The
Ugandan government needs to further research the
so-called "nodding disease" rather than continuing with current
treatment procedures, says an American doctor who visited the areas
where most victims are found. 
 
The strange ailment which has devastated the lives of thousands of children in the neglected northern region of Uganda. 
 
The
victims behave as if they are falling asleep, while also drooling
uncontrollably. It's a fatal, mentally and physically incapacitating disease. It stunts the growth of children  permanently -- including the brain -- and leads to mental retardation.

The disease, according to doctors, affects the nerves of
children between the ages of 5 to 17 years. More than 7,000 cases of
the nodding syndrome have been registered in the past two years. 
 
The
American, Dr. Suzanne Gazda, who recently met with members of the media
in Gulu, the regional capital here, urged the government to carry out
more research on the disease. Dr. Gazda, a neurologist from San Antonio,
Texas, warned that there should be more study on the brains of victims
of the disease before continuing with other treatments. She also
promised to set up a treatment center which she said would be used as a
day care center for the nodding children. She is one of the founders of
Hope for Humans organization. 
 
She is also known for setting up a treatment Center at Aromo Wanglobo in Odek Sub County in Gulu district. 
 
Division
among politicians and turf wars are also slowing down the attempts to
rally global support. On Feb. 18, a meeting organized between victims of
the disease and a potential donor, by the Member of Parliament who
represents Women in the national legislator, was disrupted by a local
official. 
 
The meeting for community members of Tumangu, in
Akwang Sub County, Kitgum District by Member of Parliament Beatrice
Anywar was halted when the District Chairman for Kitgum, Luka Nyeko, 
said
it wasn't cleared through him. He claimed no one can ever go with any
intervention or well-wishers straight to the villages devastated by
nodding syndrome unless they pass through his office. 
 
Nyeko
noted that he fears that soon people will begin soliciting money from
abroad in the name of helping the nodding syndrome afflicted children
and end up with the money in their pocket. 
 
Anywar said Nyeko
was a self-designated task force chairperson for the nodding syndrome
and that his actions would disrupt measure to help fight the disease.
Instead of lobbying and attracting more support for the uncared for
children, Nyeko was fighting the very people who could help, she said. 
 
Joe
Otto, who is the focal person for nodding disease in Tumangu said
Nyeko's action was very unfortunate since they would never get to find
out what kind of assistance the Americans would have offered.


 

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