A Short biography on the speaker, Moses Otto
28 years ago I escaped the genocide committed in Northern Uganda. As a child, 12 years old, I was a target by the notorious rebel group Lord Resistance Army (LRA) led by Kony. He forcefully rounded up kids at schools and in the villages. At night, it was difficult to sleep because of fear that I may get abducted. The government soldiers, which should be a safe haven, turn their guns on the civilians to loot our limited resources and raped men and women alike.
While in Kenya, life proved to be very difficult, hence I migrated to Australia as a refugee. I completed my first degree in Health Sciences and Honours in Medical Research at the University of Tasmania. Then, I continued with further studies at the University of South Australia and completed Masters of Occupational Therapy. I now work in my own private practice, Mobile Tasmania Occupational Therapy.
A Short description of the charity work
Like many communities throughout the world, Acholi people do not have a voice and there are limited or not well resourced Acholi communities in Diasporas, hence unable to influence the international community for support. Last year, I visited Uganda and witnessed the devastation effect of the 30 years long conflict in Northern Uganda. I was challenged to do something about this. There were orphans looking after themselves, no healthcare services or support for the victims of Nodding Syndrome. As a result, I founded Acholi Resilience, a not-for-profit charity registered with the Australian Charities Not for profit Commission and endorsed with the Deductible Gift Recipient status supporting Acholi people.
My aim is to improve the learning environment and enhance the wellbeing of Nodding Syndrome Victims and Orphans in Northern Uganda. Research has shown that an optimal environment is critical for children to survive and thrive when established early.
A Short description of Nodding Syndrome
Presently, a large proportion of children are born healthy but when they turn 5 years old, they develop Nodding Syndrome. There is no current research output underpinning the actual cause of Nodding Syndrome to children. This is a great opportunity for Australian medical researchers and pioneers to spearhead research into Nodding Syndrome to help tackle this deadly disease in Africa. The success of research program will have a direct benefit to Australia in that it leverages a unique opportunity presented by knowledge gained to attract more consultative contracts from affected countries to combat the disease, more specifically, it will also help to: promote and advocate for Nodding Syndrome to the world; Facilitate knowledge sharing between researchers in international arena regarding Nodding Syndrome; and build capacity and capability of medical students in Africa to tackle Nodding Syndrome.