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Govt asked to intervene as 44 nodding disease girls are raped

MPs from nodding disease affected districts have urged government to intervene  with 44 girls reportedly raped (FILE PHOTO)

PARLIAMENT – A group of MPs from the Nodding disease affected districts have called on Government to intervene in the rampant rape cases, where 44 girls are said to have been raped, as a result of the medication they take to treat the ailment.

The revelation was made this afternoon during the plenary sitting by Lucy Achiro (Aruu North County MP) who asked the Ministry of Health to avail alternative medication to save the girls, saying already, 44 girls have been raped in her constituency, yet nodding syndrome is affecting over 10districts in Nothern Uganda.

Achiro explained: “The medication these children take increases the level of their libido and they end up looking for these men who end up raping and defiling them. We are asking for the Ministry of Health to provide alternative medicine so that we reduce the number of children raped.”

However, it is not the first time the matter of medication used for treating nodding disease is reported to increase the libido of these children.

In 2017, a report by the Parliamentary Committee on Gender, Labour and Social Development on the nodding disease syndrome in Northern Uganda highlighted that nodding syndrome highlighted that an empirical study shows that victims of this nodding disease had had their libido increased as a result of drugs that they take.

Aruu North County MP, Lucy Achiro, asked the ministry of health to avail alternative medication to save the girls (FILE PHOTO)

“The victims (of nodding disease) have the high temperament, argue a lot and do not accept correction. The drugs are given as medication lead to a high appetite for food and increase their libido, forcing them to rape or initiate sex,” the report read in part.

According to the Committee findings, nodding disease victims are subjected to taking Carbamazepine tablets daily.

According to eHealthMe.com, an American medical analysis website launched in 2008, Libido increase is found among people who take Carbamazepine, especially for people who are male, aged 60+ old, have been taking the drug for 1 – 6 months.

The site provides patients and healthcare professionals with tools to study approximately 40 million drug outcomes, following the release of those drugs onto the market.

The study further indicated that out of 22,883 people reported to have side effects when taking Carbamazepine, 7 people (0.03%) have had their libido increased. These figures are much higher on people below the age of 25 suffering from Psychotic Disorder or nodding disease syndrome.

Statistics also show that worldwide, 57.14 % of the male have experienced increased libido upon taking carbamazepine compared to 42.86% among female.

The MPs noted in their report that carbamazepine comes with several and severe side effects among them is increased libido, and the side effects are worsened with the shortage of food, which usually causes convulsion, thus ‘disrupting’ most parts of their bodies, yet the drugs work effectively if the victim is well fed.

However, the reproductive health of the victims is worsened by the stigma surrounding the disease when victims of this nodding disease become ‘riotous’, forcing their parents to abandon them, tether them on trees, lock them up with domestic animals or inject them with drugs to keep them under control.

Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga ordered the Ministry of Health to explain to the August House on what’s being done to provide alternative drugs for the victims.

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