Nodding syndrome (NS) is a poorly understood condition characterized by repetitive involuntary nodding of the head, mental retardation and stunted growth, which mainly affects children aged five to fifteen years old. An estimated 10,000 children are afflicted in northern Uganda, South Sudan and in Tanzania. Children living under the poorest conditions seem most susceptible to the syndrome and the majority of affected families experienced food shortages and have a history of internal displacement.
This is an ethnographic study of conceptualizations of nodding syndrome in northern Uganda. Attention is paid to formative processes and narrative dimensions: to the construction of concepts, the context in which they are produced, and the actors who are allowed to articulate them.