Ministry of Health officials are expected to meet with the leadership of Gulu District, having responded to calls by the leaders for immediate support for children suffering from the nodding disease syndrome.
The Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr Asuman Lukwago, in a communication to the district, said that officials from the health ministry would start camping in the nodding disease affected areas by 09 June 2012.
Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, Gulu’s District Chairman LCV said that: “Yesterday I was in constant contact with the PS in the minister of Health, he gave me assurance that his officials will arrive in Gulu to begin the work on Sunday June 11.”
Mapenduzi said that the district cannot be bogged down on the nodding epidemic and that the district was forced to act the way it did, because the MOH and the Office of the Prime Minister recently gave the district only Shs 50 million to control the spread of the disease, but that money was an insult to the victims and the district.
District officials demanded for about 2,000 metric tonnes of food for the affected children, a special van, two motorcycles and adequate money to respond to the crisis in Odek, Palaro, Lalogi and Awach sub-counties, the worst affected areas in Gulu.
The District Health Services Officer for Gulu district Dr Paul Onek said that he blamed Dr Opar Bernard who is the chairman of the National Task Forces on the nodding disease, for his failure to set up structures on the ground, and urged that he be transferred.
Dr Opar however said that although some humanitarian agencies had turned up to rescue the situation; WHO and WFP have not done enough to respond to the plight of the victims.
District officials said threatened to “walk to Kampala, or state house or even Rwakitura to show disappointment with the manner in which government is responding to the nodding disease.”
The Woman member of Parliament for Gulu Hon Betty Aol Ocan said that Gulu District Health Services has to write a report indicating the seriousness of the disease in the district and what the health teams have done so far.
The district Speaker of Gulu district Mr Douglas Okello Okao said government and district officials must not act like school children awaiting orders from the headmaster.
“Our government should not be like schools where children follow order from their head teachers, all people in Uganda want to hear everything from the president, and what Museveni says, they will accept it.” Okao said.
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