There was drama in Gulu on Wednesday when Gulu district officials stormed the National Task Force attached to the Ministry of Health at Odek Health Centre III over the nodding disease syndrome demanding among other things inclusion of Gulu district on the list of affected districts.
According to the records from the office of District Health Officer Dr Paul Onek, there are only 391 diagnosed nodding children with 11 registered deaths in the district.
“Tell us or we act now, enough is enough and we cannot be sidelined on health matters, go away with your politics,” Newton said.
The politicians first confronted Opar at the ward and later surrounded him outside as the area councillor Billy Graham Olanya closed the health centre gate while others attempted to grab keys to his vehicle.
What followed was bitter exchange between the officials which left Dr Beatrice Abalo a lecturer at Gulu University working on nodding children in tears.
“Does he know who we are, if he is not careful he will lose his job, we do not care, and we will remove his keys and lock the gate,” Olanya said.
The politicians had previously briefed district officials at the district county hall by Dr Onek in a meeting that including stakeholders and humanitarian agencies.
Onek said that early this year, 11 children had died of nodding disease in Odek, Palaro, Lukwor, and Lamala all in Odek sub-county in Gulu district.
“This thing needs political weight and we are not wasting time, we need logistical support and funds to achieve our goals,” Onek said.
“The Ministry has budgeted for shs50m but we have not received a single coin,” Onek added.
“What can we do, now that Gulu is not listed and the money is not forth coming and our children are dying daily?,” district chairman Ojara Martin Mapenduzi asked while addressing the meeting.
But according Minister Richard Nduhuura of the Ministry of Health: “ministry of health has approved funding in affected areas and Gulu gets shs50m.”
“Pader gets shs105m; Lamwo gets shs101m, Kitgum district shs98m, Lira Hospital and Gulu Hospital each shs50m,” he added.
Dr Opar told the officials that: “The medical workers here are treating these cases as epilepsy and not nodding disease.”
Dr David Kitara Lagoro a member of the National Task force based in Odek health centre III said that the situation warrants immediate government intervention.
“To tell the truth, the situation needs attention badly because the people are nodding and dying,” Kitara said.
Dr Kitara urged all efforts to be put towards helping the population and avoid that cause conflicts.
Speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Health, Mr John Opwonya disputed Opar’s statement that medical workers were wrongly diagnosing cases.
“There is nothing like mismanaging cases at heath centres. What he Opar should do is to forward our needs of training workers and releasing funds,” Opwonya said. By A Web design Company
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