(Portland, OR Apr 09, 2012 ) One month after launching a campaign to help Ugandan children affected by Nodding Syndrome in areas brutalized by Joseph Kony, Medical Teams International is seeing measurable progress among hundreds of children and their families.
Nodding Syndrome is a mysterious disease affecting more than 4,000. Specialists are working hard to determine the cause of the syndrome, which involves convulsions, malnutrition and disorientation. Those affected require constant care by their families. A number of children affected by the syndrome have died.
While Kony has been forced to leave the area, many communities are still coping with the devastation created by the conflict. Many people are unwilling to return to their homes because they live in fear that Kony will return. This is the context in which Nodding Syndrome has developed.
In partnership with the Ministry of Health of Northern Uganda, Medical Teams International has carried out a mobile medical program in the areas brutalized by Kony and the LRA since 2004. In the past month, staff have begun to provide anticonvulsant medicines and other medical support to more than 500 children affected by Nodding Syndrome. The organization is also training local health workers and community leaders in ways to care for these children and to support the families involved.
In 30 days, efforts are already showing results. Children who were dying from hunger because they were unable to eat have returned to health and are able to walk. Families have found relief from the burden of caring for their children and are able to invest time in growing crops and working.
“This program is the only source of health care for thousands of people affected by more than 20 years of brutality at the hands of Joseph Kony and others”, says Bas Vanderzalm, president of Medical Teams International. “It’s wonderful to see the progress that has been made in such a short time.”