#WATWB: Fighting Uganda’s Nodding Syndrome

Posted: 2017/08/25 in Blogging
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A strange illness has been debilitating the children of Northern Uganda. Named Nodding Disease or Nodding Syndrome, it causes the children to nod their heads rapidly and go into severe seizures similar to those caused by epilepsy. The seizures begin when the affected children are presented with food or exposed to cold temperatures. The  children become mentally and physically stunted.

MRI scans have revealed brain atrophy and damage to the regions responsponsible for memory storage and retrieval.

Recent studies have shown that the disease is caused by a water-borne parasitic worm, Onchocerca volvulus, which is also known to cause river blindness.

However, in the beginning, stigma and superstition about the disease prevented the children from receiving proper care and treatment.

Today, for the WE ARE THE WORLD BLOGFEST #WATWB, I share with you the story of one kind-hearted COLLINES ANGWECH, who dedicates her life to taking care of these unfortunate children.

Collines grew up in Northern Uganda at a time when the terrible Lord’s Resistance Army used to make frequent attacks on the villages and kidnap the children to use as soldiers and sex slaves.

Her story is found here.

Collines Angwech

Collines Angwech, Source: BBC

This is the sixth celebration of the WE ARE THE WORLD BLOGFEST #WATWB which is carried out every last Friday of the month, and which aims to spread love and positiveness in this vulnerable world. A celebration of heroes who can still restore our faith in humanity, especially in this period when our world seems to be full of endless series of horrible happenings.

Our generous co-hosts for this month are: Simon Falk, Inderpreet Uppal, Lynn Hallbrooks, Eric Lahti, and Mary J Giese.


To sign up for We Are The World Blogfest, please see the guidelines below.


  1. Keep your post to below 500 words, as much as possible.
  2. All we ask is you link to a human news story on your blog on the last Friday of each month, one that shows love, humanity, and brotherhood. Something like this news  about a man who only fosters terminally ill children.
  3. Join us on the last Friday of each month in sharing news that warms the cockles of our heart. No story is too big or small, as long as it goes beyond religion and politics, into the core of humanity.
  4. Place the WE ARE THE WORLD Badge on your sidebar, and help us spread the word on social media. Tweets, Facebook shares, G+ shares using the #WATWB hashtag through the month most welcome. More Blogfest signups mean more friends, love and light for all of us.
  5. We’ll read and comment on each others’ posts, get to know each other better, and hopefully, make or renew some friendships with everyone who signs on as participants in the coming months.
  6. To signup, add your link in WE ARE THE WORLD Linky List
  1. Dan Antion says:

    What better purpose is there than helping children stay safe and healthy? Thanks for sharing this, Peter.

  2. children are the future! Blessings on those like Collines who having gone through so much as a child dedicates herself to protect and care for other children.

  3. Ps: thank you again for sharing Peter!

  4. bikerchick57 says:

    Ms. Angwech is a special person to dedicate herself to taking care of these sick children. I hope they can find a remedy to the parasitic worm’s effects on the kids. Thanks for sharing this story, Peter, and being part of #WATWB.

  5. writingmama says:

    What a wonderful caring person Ms. Angwech is to dedicate her life to caring for these sick children. I do hope they find a remedy to the effects on these children of the parasite worm’s. Thank you for sharing this story and for participating in #WATWB.

    • Peter Nena says:

      Collines says that some children have been recovering through her care. I’m sure there will be medicine for the disease someday. Thank you.

  6. What an inspiration Collines Angwech is, and what a blessing she has been to these children. Now the world needs to step up in response to the need, and I certainly hope we do.

    • Peter Nena says:

      Hi Deborah. I hope you are well. There is a charity involved with the children. Knowing that there are people who wish to help is already a remedy. Thank you.

  7. What a terrible illness thanks for sharing such a worthy woman and all.she is doing for these sick children.

    • Peter Nena says:

      The disease terrified me myself. It is horrible. Then I found out that little has been known about it since 1960. I felt for the affected children. Collines is too strong a person, truly worthy.

  8. Angels walk among us– they just wear human faces. What amazing lady, Peter. Thanks for sharing her story with us.

  9. hilarymb says:

    Hi Peter – this sounds like a dreadful disease to be in the water and so difficult to eradicate. Collines is one amazing woman … just wonderful to read how dedicated she is … I hope they can resolve the illness so there isn’t so much suffering … cheers Hilary

  10. Such dedication and selflessness identifies Collines Angwech as an amazing individual… one who sets such a wonderful example for the rest of humanity.
    Trying to manage and eliminate this water-borne parasitic worm will be a mammoth task. I hope they make progress soon… and that she receives 100% assistance from the authorities.
    God bless her soul!

    Thank you for sharing this story.
    Writer In Transit

    • Peter Nena says:

      The children’s parents had given up, choosing to lock up the infected children instead. Then Collines visited and things began to change. The government of Uganda is also making efforts to eradicate the illness. God bless them all. Thank you Michelle.

  11. dweezer19 says:

    Wow. Just. Wow.

  12. What a terrible affliction and wonderful dedication to the children by Collines Angwech. Family reactions in situations like these are so heartbreaking. Thank you Peter for sharing this. I had never heard of it before.

    • Peter Nena says:

      Thank you Emily. It is indeed a rare disease. Scientists did not understand it until recently. Local stigma and superstitions do break my heart as well. Thanks.

  13. ericlahti says:

    Wow, there are some scary diseases out there. Kudos to Collines!

  14. I remember reading about the nodding disease at an epidemic eradication exhibit at the Met last year… so many illnesses that could be (relatively) easily treated if not for the prejudice and stigma associated with them. Bravo to Collines, and may she live to help many, many more children.
    Guilie @ Quiet Laughter

    • Peter Nena says:

      What bothers me most is how quick the affected parents attribute witchcraft and supernatural forces to any illness that they do not understand. May Collines live a long, generous life, indeed! Thank you Guilie.

  15. Wonderful spotlight on sheroes.

  16. simonfalk28 says:

    What contrasts between the way some people maltreated these children and Collines beautiful above and beyond courage to make a difference. Thanks for sharing, Peter Simon’s Still Stanza #WATWB

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