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CHILDREN WITH NODDING DISEASE SYNDROME ABANDON SCHOOLING AS HUNGER BITES HARDER IN KITGUM

By Christopher Nyeko

KITGUM: At least 30 learners with Nodding disease syndrome in Alune primary school in Kitgum district have reportedly abandoned Schooling as hunger bites harder.

449 learners are enrolled at Alune primary school in Labongo Akwang and 30 of them are nodding disease syndrome patients.

Last term the school authorities introduced a school feeding program as a measure of keeping the learners in the school.

Under the arrangement, each learner is supposed to take 10 kilograms of beans, 15 kilograms of maize flour and 3000 shilling for buying the ingredients.

However the initiative hit a dead end due to the prolonged drought that hit the region in the first season of this year which led to poor crop yields and made it hard for the parents to raise the food items.

The School authorities told Uganda Radio Network earlier this week that all the 30 learners affected by nodding condition have abandoned school due to  hunger.

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John Okura, the school deputy head teacher said some parents had failed to embrace the initiative and the situation was worsened by the poor crop yields since even those who had embraced it are unable to raise the food stuff.

Patrick Omal, the school headteacher advises the parents to start packing food for their children to enable them stay in school.

Bosco Oringa, a parent of two children with nodding disease syndrome reveals that he is unable to feed his family which worsened the condition of these children since they could not get enough food.

According to Mark Ruangakene, the Labongo Akwang sub county chairperson , the sub county has a total of 400 children suffering from the nodding disease syndrome.

Christopher Arwai Obol, the Kitgum district chairperson told Ugreports that the district has resorted to mobilising resources from the community to support the affected schools.

Obol added that due to Hunger thousands of learners in the district are absconding from schooling and resorting to hunting for wild fruits.

Fred Owot, the district education officer anticipates that the disaster will affect the academic performance of the district.

He however appeals to the responsible government ministry to come to the rescue of the learners by providing the area with relief food.

Currently government is distributing relief food to Karamoja region following reports of the death of dozens of people due to hunger in the area.

Other regions in the country have also registered poor crop yields due to the prolonged drought putting the country in a risk of food crisis.

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