Parents serve court penalty after Nodding children sued them for neglect

Two children infected by the nodding disease have entered the record books for dragging their parents to court for neglect. 

Ms Janet Amito 12 and Mr Isaac Okema 10, both children to Ms Amony Betty and Joel Kilama of Angagura village in Aruu County, Pader district allege that they were abandoned by their parents at Atanga treatment center early this year because they had become a burden to them as a result of the nodding syndrome. 

“When my brother developed the nodding symptom, my mother refused to care for us fearing that her unborn baby would also catch the disease,” Anena said. 

“She took us to Atanga hospital after consuming our food supplements. She then left us lonely and found her new home, but I felt sad and started washing the body of my brother and feeding him. I cannot reconcile with her since she is not ready to reform,” she added. 

Arach and Kilama were found guilty and are serving a community service by slashing grass at Angagura health center II . The ruling was delivered by Pader Magistrate court on October 5th. 

Amito and Okema have both spent nearly a year at the treatment center without any assistance from their mother. 

However, Arach who came to the hospital on Wednesday to receive medical services for chest pains said that the charges and subsequent ruling were malicious and trumped-up. 

She insisted that her children mistook her actions as "running away", but she only went to seek treatment from a traditional healer for a wound she had obtained on cassava farm. 

Still adamant, Arach said her children should continue to stay at the treatment center until they were cured of their nodding syndrome. 

"It’s a lie. They are in the ward because of my efforts. It was difficult to get food in the hospital and I left home to get cassava" said Arach "In the process, my leg got injured and swollen that I could not walk for two months. So they mistook it for neglect,” Arach said. “They are still my children." 

However, as she defended herself, Arach soon fell victim to verbal attacks from her fellow women at the hospital. 

“You are silly! These are your children and no one will care for your blood,” Santorina Akidi said as other patients stood by with wrinkles of anger in their faces watching. 

Ms Arach who was angered by the court ruling to serve community service at Angagura health center II, insisted that the punishment would not change her attitude towards her children. 

“The government must cure them, for me to take them back home” she added.  

Meanwhile her daughter said Arach was pretending to love them. 

"I made sure they were arrested. I hate my mother because she does not want us anymore, let her go away," said Amito, now a care taker of her four years sick brother. 

She said that even if she has been attacked by the syndrome, it was still her duty to care for and Okema, her brother.

 

Since March this year, the health center has diagnosed 1706 and admitted 88 nodding children.  It has also diagonised 1709 epileptic patients. 

Ms Nancy Nicole Nyeko, a comprehensive Nurse working at the nodding ward and also the acting head of Atanga health center said that Arach was only frustrated because she had lost any hope of her children getting any better. 

She said that Pader district leadership had pledged to look for an orphanage to cater for the children but since October nothing had materialized. 

They are surviving on hospital food and supplements for their nodding and seizures. 

In September this year 36 bags of food supplement (maize Flour) went missing from the treatment center. Although the IGG officials carried out an investigation, no one was arrested in connection to the theft. 

"This is detrimental to the lives of children who need food more, like Okema and Amito who are at God's mercy in their survival or should the stock run down," Nyeko said. 

Health workers in Pader have embarked on community outreach programs to sensitize parents on their roles in responding to the disease including the provision of nutritious foods, adherence to drugs and personal hygiene of their sick children. 

Currently medical workers are using Valporate drugs to control nodding disease with additional food supplements to yield nutrition levels. 

Since it was identified in 2003, over 1000 children affected by the disease in Acholi sub-region have died from the syndrome. 

Apaa Border sensitization meeting ends prematurely A meeting organized last week to sensitize leaders from Adjumani and Amuru on the controversial Apaa border ended in chaos. The committee of leaders was set up by General Kahinda... Read more
Amuru Jubilates Nyombi’s departure due to Madhivani land involvement James Owich Residents of Amuru district are in a celebratory mood after the news that President Yoweri Museveni dropped Mr Peter Nyombi from Cabinet as Attorney General in his recent reshuffle. The... Read more
Gulu Registers 643 PLE Candidate in Division One in 10 Years Unlike schools in the central and western regions, in the last ten years, Gulu district has registered only 643 candidates in Division One in Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE) out of the 43,471... Read more
Odama calls for meaningful integration of former abductees by local communities The archbishop of Northern Uganda, His Grace John Baptist Odama has said its time for Humanity to be one ... Read more
Apaa Border sensitization meeting ends prematurely A meeting organized last week to sensitize leaders from Adjumani and Amuru on the controversial Apaa border ended in... Read more
Muslims Protest Road Construction on Gulu cemetery Muslims in Gulu district have strongly protested a plan by Gulu Municipal Council authorities to construct a new road... Read more
Gulu Registers 643 PLE Candidate in Division One in 10 Years Unlike schools in the central and western regions, in the last ten years, Gulu district has registered only 643... Read more
Amuru Jubilates Nyombi’s departure due to Madhivani land involvement James Owich Residents of Amuru district are in a celebratory mood after the news that President Yoweri Museveni dropped Mr Peter... Read more
Lukodi massacre survivors express bitterness over adjournment of Dominic Ongwen’s case The Survivors of Lukodi Massacre last Saturday expressed bitterness over the extension of the hearing of the case... Read more
Witness protection key in Ongwen’s trial says ICC Chief Ms Fatou Bensouda, the Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC) has said they have learned a lot... Read more
1,800 vendors to relocate to Gulu Main Market in April At least 1, 8000 vendors will be relocated to Gulu Main Market by April this year. The multi -billion shillings... Read more
World Bank to releases additional Shs10 Billion to Gulu Municipal Council The World Bank will this financial year release additional Shs10.6 billion to Gulu Municipal Council under the Uganda... Read more
Odama calls for meaningful integration of former abductees by local communities The archbishop of Northern Uganda, His Grace John Baptist Odama has said its time for Humanity to be one ... Read more
Amuru RDC accused of confiscating primary school text books Amuru district Resident District Commissioner, Mr James Nabinson Kidega has been accused of looting primary school... Read more
NGO’s urged to support former LRA combatants Former Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) abductees have called on the government and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)... Read more
New Study Links Suicide to Depression among Gulu former IDPs A new study has linked the current high cases of suicide in Gulu district among the former Internally Displaced... Read more
Gulu district Speaker calls for nationalization programme Mr Okello Douglas Peter Okao, The Gulu district speaker has said government is taking too long on piloting the senior... Read more
Gulu Deputy RDC Wants Condemned Houses Demolished In Gulu Mr Moses Andrew Awany, the Gulu Deputy Resident District Commissioner (RDC) has suggested that demolishing unoccupied... Read more

Acholi Times Exclusive Interview

Acholi Legislators Are Not Resisting Development – Hon Reagan Okumu
Monday, 03 June 2013
The chairperson for Acholi Parliamentary Group (APG) and Member of... Read More...
Nile Award medallist Labeka Auma Okwong, 80.
Monday, 14 May 2012
When it came to education, girls were viewed as would-be prostitutes... Read More...
Ronald Reagan Okumu, Member of Parliament for Aswa County - Part 2
Monday, 23 May 2011
 In the last part of our interview, Hon Reagan Okumu talks to Acholi... Read More...
Harriet Anena
Monday, 16 February 2015
Harriet Anena’s writing as shown in her newly-released poetry... Read More...

Witness

War Affected Women And Their Children Petition Leaders For Reparations
Monday, 02 December 2013
For most women and children in conflict zones, the dangers of war go... Read More...
Lakwena’s Father Awaits Govt Compensation Three years After Court Ruling
Monday, 27 August 2012
Severino Lukoya Kiberu, 89 also father to the late Alice Auma... Read More...
Male Sexual Violence Survivors in North Still Suffer in Silence
Monday, 21 July 2014
Men and boys who experienced sexual violence during the brutal... Read More...
‘State killing’: witnesses tell their accounts
Monday, 16 May 2011
Barely a month after three people were shot dead by the military... Read More...
Nwoya Woman Survives Lynching after Husband Commits Suicide
Monday, 10 November 2014
Ms Christine Lalam, a resident of Latoro village, Purongo Sub County... Read More...