Leaders in Pader district have asked the government for consistent food supplies for families with children suffering from nodding syndrome.
Rtd Col. Fearless Obwoya, the Pader District LC V chairperson, says that families with children suffering from the nodding syndrome have no time to engage in productive business or agriculture because they are preoccupied with ensuring that their children don’t wander and die in water, fire, or get lost.
He says the families need support to provide food for the children. Obwoya has appealed to the Members of Parliament to ensure that their request is tabled on the floor of parliament so that the families are given food every month.
He made the request during an event to celebrate Christmas with families of victims of nodding syndrome in Kalawinya Parish, Angagura Sub-County in Pader district on Sunday.
Dickson Ojok the Angagura Sub-County LC V councilor wondered why the government had stopped sending financial support to the affected families. Ojok thinks that the government of Uganda has enough resources to support the affected families.
Juliet Namukasa, the country director of International Ad Services (now LM International), said it is impossible for parents to profitably make use of the available government programs such as the parish development Model and emyooga because they don’t have the time.
Namukasa said a special budget should be allocated to cater to families with children affected by the nodding syndrome.
Paska Achiro, the Pader Woman member of parliament supported the idea of providing regular food aid, adding that the available government land should be used to grow food for the affected families.
Alluding to part of Aswa ranch, which has been given to Uganda Prison Services to grow food, Achiro said it would be proper to make Pader district where the ranch is, and has the biggest number of children suffering from nodding syndrome benefit from the food being grown on the farm.
The event last year was attended by several MPs in Pader, Kitgum, Lamwo, and Agago, as well as Ministers and other local government leaders.
Children suffering from nodding syndrome were transported from all affected districts to celebrate their day in Bongolaku Village, Lamit Parish in Labongo Amida sub-county, Kitgum district.
However, the leaders expressed disappointment that many leaders from the affected district shunned the second event in Pader district. Only two legislators from Pader and district leaders attended the event. The Minister for Northern Uganda did not attend as well the Minister of Health, who was supposed to be the chief guest.
The organizers said they were only able to transport children from Pader district, because they only raised 4.1 million Shillings for the event, compared to the UGX 25 million Shillings they realised last year.
The Bishop of Gulu Archdiocese, His Grace John Baptist Odama, said the problem with people is countries, districts, and homes are disunited and think their neighbors’ challenges do not affect them.
“If the whole country joined hands to raise support for these families, their burden would seem lighter,” Odama said. Researchers contend that proper nutrition is vital in the general improvement of children suffering from nodding syndrome.