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Meet Philips, a Young Man with Nodding Syndrome in Uganda

by User Not Found | Jun 06, 2014

Our Uganda team recently had a visit with a family in Pader, Uganda, where MTI is providing care. They met with Phillips, a 12-year-old boy with Nodding Syndrome, whose family needs your help.


Philips and his 16-year-old brother Francis Ochaka, who is also afflicted with Nodding Syndrome, came with their mother Sopia Atto to a local MTI clinic to get the children’s monthly supply of medication. Their sister, Susan Apio, 14, has both Nodding Syndrome and Epilepsy. Philips started having symptoms in 2006, but it wasn't until a few years later - when MTI Village Health Teams started spreading health messages in their village - that they actually learned about Nodding Syndrome and Epilepsy. They've been coming to the clinic for medication for 3 years.

When the children first received medication, Sophia noticed a drastic change. The kids were responding well! But since there hasn't been a consistent supply of medication, they are deteriorating again. When they are able to get their medication, they can help with chores around the house and attend school. English is Philips favorite subject. He’s shy and soft spoken.

Philips feels tired a lot, regardless of whether or not he’s taking medication. The last time they were at the clinic for their medication was January, and they haven’t had medication since. When Philips isn't taking medication, he has a lot of problems, especially in the morning when it’s cold. He’ll go outside to begin his day, but then begins Nodding. Sopia will bring him back inside and cover him up with a blanket so he can warm up and calm down. When asked how she was doing, all she says is, “it’s so hard.”

Sometimes two children will be nodding at the same time and she lays them down carefully, one at a time, and then just sits and prays next to them. She foregoes work and chores to take care of them. No one is around to help her. Her husband died and neighbors rarely help. Sometimes neighbors who have children with Nodding Syndrome will help, but others don't, afraid of catching this sickness.

This is a great challenge for my family. “When your child is sick, you are also sick,” says Sophia. “We first had war, and now disease. We greatly need this help of medicines.”

Every $1 you send, ships $83 worth of desperately needed medications to families just like Philips's. These families rely on medications to get through each day, to work, and to survive. Thank you for your compassion. Donate here.

Story by Megan Steele
Photo by Trina Chase