Nodding Syndrome

Decades of conflict have had vast arrays of catastrophic effects on humanitarian and economic stability of Northern Uganda (NU). These problems range from countless loss of lives, abduction of children for child-soldiers and sex slaves for Lord Resistant Army (LRA), collapse of local economy, dilapidation of civil infrastructure, loss of property (livestock and homes), breakdown of healthcare and education facilities, loss of cultural structure and norms, loss of skills among youth and dependency on hand-outs from international donor organisations. Moreover, the squalid Internal Displaced Person (IDP) camps were breeding grounds for diseases, rapist, pedophiles, and abductors that caused the death of over 1,500 people weekly resulting into thousands of orphans. For more than two decades, they waited for the war to end, meanwhile, their villages, crops, and livestock were destroyed and or looted.

In 2008, the Uganda government released Acholi people from the camps to go home. The camps were homes for Acholi people for more than 20 years where they were provided with outdated food, expired medications, and poorly resourced education. After 20 years in camps, most people forgot to work and to engage in economic development. When Acholi people returned to their land, they had no food, no animals, no schools, no hospitals, and worse no homes to go back to. They also brought back something even more insidious: a disease that began attacking thousands of children between the ages of 5-15 years old, known as Nodding Syndrome (NS).