The Minister for Water Mrs Betty Oyela Bigombe has blasted Acholi politicians for accusing the government of President Yoweri Museveni for not doing enough to combat the nodding disease epidemic and suggesting that it has a hand in its origin through poisoning or chemical weapons.
Bigombe who was the chief mourner at the burial of the former Senior Civil Servant Mzee Angelo Keneri Banya on Saturday June 1 in Gulu Municipality last week, urged Acholi leaders to desist from accusing government of being behind every adversity that befalls the region, including the nodding disease.
“I want to tell you that the government has never had a hand in the nodding diseases, whenever any outbreak of new diseases occurs here, Acholi politicians rush to castigate government, that they are behind such misfortunes,” Bigombe said
Adding further: “politicians in Gulu district are using the nodding disease as a political issue to suit their political agenda.”
However, the LC3 Chairman for Odek sub-county - which is the most affected in Gulu district - Mr Ocaya Adebe said that there is nothing political in the public outcry related to the nodding disease: “I want to tell you that Dr. Bernard Opar, the National Coordinator for the nodding disease has confirmed that the symptoms do not have the bearing of Epilepsy as being advanced by some medical staff.”
He questioned the medical claimed that the nodding diseases could be caused by the Black River fly that causes river blindness and cited communities living along river Aswa whom he says have been living along the river for decades without being affected by the nodding disease.
“Our people are being poisoned; epilepsy does not affect three or more people in one family,” Mr Ocaya said.
Chairman Ocaya said that the nodding disease which has recently killed more than 11 people in his sub county displays the same symptoms with a type of disease first reported during the height of internment, causing many people to suspect that it has its roots in the food that was being distributed at the time. He said that during the same period, foreign objects such as crushed glasses, human teeth and chemicals; were discovered in the rations distributed to camp occupants.
The councilor presenting Odek sub county Mr Billy Graham Olanya called upon the Health Ministry and Bigombe to produce the results of the specimen taken by experts from World Health Organization and the Centre for Disease Control in Atlanta to verify the cause of the disease, since the results are already in the possession of the government.
“The specimen of nodding disease has been collected from the children who died and those who are still battling with the disease, why can’t the ministry release for us the result.” Olanya asked.
Meanwhile, the leaders called upon the police to urgently release findings investigations carried out when 60 people were hospitalised at Lalogi Health Center IVafter taking poisoned water in January 2012.
The officer in-charge of the health centre, Mr Selestino Olango, said at the time: “The patients showed signs of throat complication, stomach ache and vomiting.”
The District Engineer, Mr Andrew Olal Obong, who hails from Odek, said that those who were discharged from the health facility have not fully recovered. “They are still vomiting and they complain of stomach problems,” Mr Olal said.
A Gulu district health official, Mr Selestino Ojok, said they had taken blood samples of the victims to the government laboratory in Kampala for testing and were awaiting results.
The result released by the government laboratory indicated that “the water was unfit for human consumption because it contained chemicals found in BENDIOCARD.
A local resident Mr Mark Opiyo 80 years told Acholi Times that the water source had been poisoned “because the village belongs to the people of Kony and we are perceived as LRA rebels.”
By A Web design Company
By A Web design Company