Via The Monitor: Families demand wide research into cause of nodding disease. Excerpt:
Communities affected by nodding disease in northern Uganda have demanded an extensive research into the ailment beyond the link with black flies.
The residents from the affected districts of Kitgum, Lamwo, Gulu and Pader, say research by the government and health partners should include a possibility of effects of munitions used during the two-decade LRA insurgency in the Acholi sub-region.
The World Health Organisation, UNICEF, the Ministry of Health and Centers for Disease Control have focused their investigations on the cause, mode of transmission and treatment of nodding disease around the black flies that causes river blindness.
Black fly factor
Vaccination against river blindness was recently done, with President Museveni ordering an aerial spray in the affected districts against the black fly. The health ministry recently said it would spray the Aswa River belt that stretches from Pader, Kitgum to Lamwo District against the black flies. Other than nodding disease, river blindness and epilepsy are also prevalent in the area. However, residents said more needs to be done.
During relief aid distribution by Action Aid International and Uganda Women Network to affected families last week, residents said the they highly suspect that the outbreak of the disease could be linked to emission of “dangerous substances” the government and the LRA used during the war.
Mr Daniel Opio, 50, of Abam Village in Palabek-Gem Sub-county in Lamwo District, said it’s important that a comprehensive research is done on the disease to include various suggestions for possible causes.
Mr Opio, whose two children are battling nodding disease, said the black fly existed for several years prior to the nodding disease outbreak eight years ago.
“The issue of investigating the black flies in relation to the strange nodding disease does not please us, there is need to look into the effects of some of the guns used in the war,” he said.
Ms Doreen Alal of Tumangu Village in Kitgum District said some areas in Kitgum and Lamwo that lie along the black fly-infested river belt have no cases of nodding disease.