A team constituted by the Health ministry to assess the incidence and cause of the nodding syndrome spent Shs400 million [US$156,000] on drafting documents to guide the study, a House Committee has said.
The team was reportedly supposed to have commenced work in January 2012 and completed it in July 2012 in among other districts, Kitgum, Gulu, Lamwo and Pader.
However, by July it had only managed to draft four research protocols.
“The committee observed, and this is a fact, that the funds were spent on the development of research protocols, and not on research. So these guys ate Shs400 million just preparing research protocols. This is an insult,” said Dr Medard Bitekyerezo, the chairman of the Parliament sub-committee on nodding syndrome.
On February 28, 2012 Parliament urged the government to find resources to facilitate research on the causes of the disease.
Later, Parliament constituted a seven-member committee to assess whether the disease had incapacitated the livelihoods of the people in the specific districts, whether the interventions by the government had been adequate, whether a supplementary budget of Shs7 billion had been used to eradicate and control the disease and whether the affected area should be declared a disaster area.
However, the State Minister for Health, Ms Sarah Opendi, refuted the committee’s claim.
“The research protocols presented to the ministry were developed without any funding. Not even a cent of the Shs400 million was spent on the research protocols that were presented,” she said.