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. 

LRA’s Maj. Gen. Dominic Ongwen in the custody of the ICC Major General Dominic Ongwen, a senior commander in the militia Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) has been handed over to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and will face international war crimes... Read more
Acholi War Claimants Fail to Account for Shs1.5Billion The government has tasked the executive members of Acholi War Debt Claimants’ Association to explain how Shs1.5 billion meant for compensating war claimants in the Acholi sub region was... Read more
Kony to Blame for ‘Brig’ Ongwen’s Fate- Former LRA Chief’s Bodyguard Mr James Okot, a former bodyguard to the elusive Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel leader, Joseph Kony has said the world should hold the LRA Chief responsible for the fate of ‘Brig’ Dominic... Read more
Former Kony Peace Chief Negotiator, Child Soldiers Plead with Government over Ongwen Mr Yusuf Okwonga Adek, the former Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel collaborator has asked the government to extend an olive branch to ‘Brig.’Dominic Ongwen, the former LRA commander who defected... Read more
Lamogi Clan Threatens to Banish Members over Amuru Sugar Project Members of Lamogi clan in Amuru district have threatened to cast out their kinsmen for signing an agreement with the government to pave way for the Amuru Sugar Works Project. On Monday,... Read more
Amuru land owners were manipulated and duped over Madhvani sugar project A section of local residents in Amuru district say that they were duped and manipulated into traveling to Rwakitura, President Yoweri Museveni's country, where they witnessed the signing of an... Read more
Negotiations Still on-going with Government over Amuru Sugar Project Land- MP Nokrach William Nokrach, the Member of Parliament representing persons with Disabilities in the northern region has dismissed reports that a final deal has been reached with the government on the proposed... Read more
Deputy Speaker Oulanyah Denies Receiving 300M War Claimants’ Cash Mr Jacob Oulanyah, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament of Uganda has strongly dismissed allegations that he received Shs300 Million in compensation for heads of cattle he lost during the 1980s’... Read more
Acholi War Claimants Fail to Account for Shs1.5Billion The government has tasked the executive members of Acholi War Debt Claimants’ Association to explain how Shs1.5... Read more
Former Kony Peace Chief Negotiator, Child Soldiers Plead with Government over Ongwen Mr Yusuf Okwonga Adek, the former Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel collaborator has asked the government to extend... Read more
Kony to Blame for ‘Brig’ Ongwen’s Fate- Former LRA Chief’s Bodyguard Mr James Okot, a former bodyguard to the elusive Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel leader, Joseph Kony has said the... Read more
Deputy Speaker Oulanyah Denies Receiving 300M War Claimants’ Cash Mr Jacob Oulanyah, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament of Uganda has strongly dismissed allegations that he received... Read more
Lamogi Clan Threatens to Banish Members over Amuru Sugar Project Members of Lamogi clan in Amuru district have threatened to cast out their kinsmen for signing an agreement with the... Read more
LRA’s Maj. Gen. Dominic Ongwen in the custody of the ICC Major General Dominic Ongwen, a senior commander in the militia Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) has been handed over to... Read more
Amuru land owners were manipulated and duped over Madhvani sugar project A section of local residents in Amuru district say that they were duped and manipulated into traveling to Rwakitura,... Read more
Negotiations Still on-going with Government over Amuru Sugar Project Land- MP Nokrach William Nokrach, the Member of Parliament representing persons with Disabilities in the northern region has dismissed... Read more
Total HIV/AIDS project closes; benefits 2,500 Pakwach residents The number of Pakwach residents who benefited from Total E&P Uganda funded HIV/AIDS project more than doubled to... Read more
Kitgum HIV Positive Woman Arrested for defiling Underage Boy Police in Kitgum district are holding a 27 -year -old woman on allegations of defiling a 17- year- old... Read more
Gulu University gets high tech server worth Shs 63 million Gulu University through its partnership with the University of Aalborg in Denmark with financial support from Danish... Read more
Gulu Man Dies in Wildfire Accident Residents Agoro village, Labworomor Parish in Parish, Palaro Sub County  in Gulu District are grief stricken after a... Read more
Lamwo 16-Year- Kills Uncle over Father’s Land A 16-Year-Old boy has killed his paternal uncle over his deceased father’s piece of land. The juvenile accused the... Read more
Local power distributors in Elegu against Rural electrification Private companies distributing electricity in Elegu Border market have sent threatening messages to the area members... Read more
Ugandan Traders Accuse Police of Double Standards Ugandan traders operating at Elegu Border Market in Amuru district have faulted the police over failure to arrest and... Read more
South Sudan nationals causing insecurity at Elegu border market The business community at the border town of Elegu in Amuru district say thay they are unable to conduct their... Read more

Support Acholi Times

Features

The men who liberated Kenya and sent dictator Moi to his native Kalenjin village, the truth must be told!
Monday, 05 January 2015
Kenya, the coastal country of east Africa, the second biggest after... Read More...

Acholi Times Exclusive Interview

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...
Gilbert Olanya - Member of Parliament for Kilak County, Amuru District
Monday, 04 July 2011
Gilbert Olanya was elected Member of Parliament (Independent) in the... Read More...
Ronald Reagan Okumu, Member of Parliament for Aswa County
Monday, 16 May 2011
 Acholi can recover from the war and the current economic crisis... Read More...
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...
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...

Land Issues

Bitter Fight Erupts Between Two Clans Over Land In Pader District
Monday, 07 January 2013
Houses were burnt, millet and maize... Read More...
Otunnu Calls On Ancestors And Residents To Protect Amuru Land
Monday, 08 October 2012
“My brother Minister, My sister... Read More...
Fake Land Committees In Amuru Conning Museveni – MP Olanya
Monday, 08 October 2012
 said that these scrupulous... Read More...
Clan Chiefs Warn Acholi War Debt Claimants Association Over Land Grabbing
Monday, 23 July 2012
While appearing on MEGA FM on Saturday... Read More...

Witness

Gulu Deputy RDC Accused Of Assault
Monday, 12 May 2014
A couple in Gulu municipalities have threatened to drag the Deputy... Read More...
I May Have Infected Over 100 Men With HIV – Prostitute In Gulu
Monday, 16 June 2014
One of the longest working prostitutes in Gulu town, Pamela Anek... Read More...
Government To Give Lt. Col. Erinayo Oryema (IGP) An Official Burial
Monday, 16 June 2014
Lt. Col. Wilson Erinayo Oryema, the first Inspector General of Police... 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...
War Robbed Me Of My Sight: The Story Of A Former LRA Lieutenant
Monday, 02 December 2013
“I wanted to be a teacher in order to shape people’s future. My... Read More...