Partnering to treat a rare disease

Partnership objectives

1) Provide medication for the prevention and treatment of Nodding Syndrome

Medical teams in Uganda caring for infants Medical teams in Uganda caring for infants Copyright AbbVie

What are the health needs and challenges?

Uganda currently ranks 161 out of 187 countries on the Human Development Index and is one of the most underdeveloped countries in the world. Access to healthcare services is a challenge, particularly for the little-understood Nodding Syndrome. This progressive neurological disease mostly affects children aged 5-15 and is characterised by head nodding, diminished mental capacities and stunted growth.

Description of partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges

Since 2014, AbbVie has partnered with Medical Teams International in the District of Pader, Uganda to treat this rare disease and improve quality of life for more than 320 patients. As a result of treatment, 90 children have been able to return to school. The organization works closely with the Ugandan Ministry of Health to provide direct services, including prenatal care, immunization, HIV counseling and malaria treatment. 30 health workers have been trained on how to deal with patients with Nodding Syndrome. To date, 2820 bottles of medication for the prevention and treatment of Nodding Syndrome has been donated by AbbVie to treat adolescents in Uganda. 

Partnership information

Company(ies) AbbVie

Partner(s) Medical Teams International

Type of Partner(s) Academia / Hospitals

Therapeutic Focus Mental and Neurological Disorders, Infectious Diseases, Women and Children's Health

Disease(s) Children's Health, HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Neurological Disorders

Program Type(s) Availability of Treatment - Product Donations

Targeted Population(s) Children, Youth

Region(s) Sub-Saharan Africa

Number of Countries 1

Country(ies) Uganda

Start Date 2014

Anticipated completion date Ongoing