Nodding Disease Toll-free Intervention Telephone Line Non Operational Three Months Later

The Government  toll-free telephone system and a website that were launched in the nodding syndrome affected districts to swiftly respond to the needs of nodding victims are non operational three months after they were launched. 

The communication system that was installed in August this year by the Ministry of Information and National Guidance in collaboration with Warid Telecom was an intervention initiative to link up the villages in the battle against the Nodding Disease. 

Under the arrangement, communities in need of urgent help were supposed to call a toll-free line provided by Warid Telecom, the mobile telephone service provider which is: 0800707005; so as to access mobile ambulances to health centres in Atanga, which is also the treatment and feeding centre. 

Mr Robert Lukwiya, one of the community leaders in the area said that although the project raised their hope that there would be a shift intervention, the project has never got off the ground. 

“The villagers have been calling to get interventions from health officials through the toll free line but they have not been helpful,” Lukwiya said. 

The district focal person for nodding disease, Mr Vincent Oyet declined to comment on the issue, saying he has been out of office for a month. 

But the district woman MP Hon Christine Lowila Oketayot expressed her frustration over the failed communication project, saying that the toll free line had failed to help the people because many people in the affected area are on MTN, AIRTEL and MANGO which has compounded their communications further. 

“We asked the ministry to get in touch with other networks so that all people are covered but this has not taken place up to now,” she said.

Mr Moses Watasa, a Commissioner in the Ministry of Information however noted that there was a technical hitch with the system, which needed rectification, adding that the problem would soon be sorted out as they expand to other networks. 

In August this year the minister of information and national guidance Ms Mary Karoro Okurut who launched the Toll Free Line and a website at Atanga treatment centre expressed the need for information sharing among health workers and victims of the syndrome. 

The village health team members have particularly been pivotal in identifying, referring and supporting the affected children and their families to the centre.

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