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Northern Uganda has highest number of nodding syndrome cases

media Children suffering from nodding syndrome gather in Akoya-Lamin Omony village … Reuters/James Akena/Files

Uganda’s northern district of Pader district has recorded the highest number of cases of patients with nodding disease according to the latest health report.

The district by Wednesday this week had registered 437 patients at Atanga Health centre most of them children. Uganda’s minister of health Christine Ondoa said the latest surveillance health report shows Pader as the worst hit district with about 1,700 cases.

The government of Uganda is rolling out treatment and care for children suffering from nodding syndrome in villages and communities in the north.

Minister Ondoa says the outreach program from Lamwo and Kitgum screening centers will start this Friday the 16 March.

She explains that a team of health workers has been dispatched to reach out to patients and treat them from their communities but severe cases will be referred to the screening and treatment centers for further investigation.

On Monday this week the ministry opened up three screening and treatment centres in the most affected districts of Lamwo, Kitgum and Pader.

Kitgum general hospital has registered 40 patients and Palabek Kal centre three patients. A total of 99 health workers have been trained to manage the patients.

3,000 children have been affected by the mysterious nodding syndrome in the north. The disease associated with onchocerciasis is characterized by seizures, stunted growth and mental retardation.

Minister Ondoa announced the government is embarking on a massive distribution of Ivermectin tablets in the areas prone to river blindness to prevent the syndrome. The disease which was first reported in 2009 affects children between five and 15 years of age.

Joint research by the ministry of health, the Centre for disease control, CDC, World Health Organization,WHO, public universities and other partners is ongoing to establish the cause of nodding syndrome.

The minister said an Environment Ecological study has been commissioned in Pader one of worst hit districts.

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