Poor learning environment in Northern Uganda
We are currently conducting a pilot study in one of the primary schools in Kitgum to see whether providing basic learning resources, recruiting more teachers, and providing food at school can improve the learning environment and provide positive learning experiences for children, and also increase attendance rate. When we visited this school (2017), we found students attending the school have had not eaten for several days. Some of these children are orphans or victims of NS. There were three teachers for over 300 students. A borehole in the school compound was broken-down with the school unable to provide fund to repair it. And thus, children had no access to clean drinking water, instead they were back to drinking dirty water from the local river and stream. The school had the highest level of truancy, drop-out and the poorest performance in the district. To address these issues, we have been working together with the local government, community and school management team to set up a feeding program, repair the broken-down borehole and provide basic learning and teaching resources for teachers and students to improve learning environment.
Poor living standards of the Victim of Nodding Syndrome & Orphans in Northern Uganda
An American Charity organisation, Hope for Humans, which was dedicated to supporting children with NS in NU has now closed down due to lack of long-term funding. As a result, the hopes of many victims of NS have diminished and their conditions are deteriorating iteratively to the original conditions (Lancet, 2016). As mentioned earlier, the Daily Monitor reported that Nodding Syndrome children are dying as Care Centre remains closed.
Therefore, there is an urgent need for a better healthcare facilities and services to ensure that NS is not intractable in the future. Project implemented by Hope for Humans, found that providing nutritious diet rich in B vitamins to victims of NS increases weight gain and reduces episodes of seizures. Further, special schools have enabled these children to learn and be inclusive in the main education system. The presence of outreach clinics and medical professionals have reduced local fears and allowed these children and their families to be re-accepted by their communities and villages (Lancet, 2016).
We aim to provide support for NS victims and orphans to ensure that their basic needs are met along with modern healthcare facilities and services to bring back dignity to these victims. Acholi Resilience aims to provide respite centres to all victims of NS, and group homes to orphans in Mucwini & Kitgum Matidi district.
Poor health care system in Northern Uganda, hence Nodding Syndrome victims and Orphans have limited medical care.
Clinics will be constructed in partnership with the current establishments in each Anglican Parish to provide healthcare for NS victims and orphans. We will encourage regular visitation by victims of NS to conduct medical assessments, administer treatment, and monitor progress and adherence to medication. These centres will be used to conduct research and training for staff as well as capacity building for the community.