An outbreak of malaria fever has occurred in Gidan Dugus village of Wangara District in Dutse Local Government Area (LGA) of Jigawa State, where it has claimed the lives of over fifty children below the age of five years.
Forty others had been hospitalized at Wangara Basic Health Centre in the LGA.
The villagers thought it was a strange illness until the state government identified it as malaria fever.
An investigation by INDEPENDENT revealed that the children under the ages of five to seven were dying on a daily basis as a result of high fever, stomach ache, vomiting, and diarrhea resulting to loss of blood.
The sickness has overwhelmed the community in the last three months.
INDEPENDENT discovered, during a visit to the community, that parents of the deceased children were mourning while those whose children were not affected live in fear.
Haladu Usman lost seven of his children to the illness, three males and four females.
“The children aged between three and one, infants, died one after the other. I lost three in a day,” he said.
Another parent, Salisu Abdullahi, said he lost four of his children in one week despite several efforts made to secure medication from nearby clinics for them.
The illness persisted and resulted in their death.
“I was scared by this unknown sickness which consumed the lives of innocent children of this community,” Abdullahi said.
Also speaking, the ward head of Gidan Dugus, Umar Dashiru, said it is quite alarming and pathetic as the community now stays in fear and agony, saying they buried five to six children on daily basis due to the illness.
He was represented by Bashari Galadima who explained that they reported the case to the state government and that it sent a team of medical personnel who took blood samples to town for tests.
The Dutse Local Government has also given some financial assistance to parents of the victims.
Some parents were said to have taken their sick children to nearby hospitals for treatment.
Some of the children recovered while others gave up the ghost.
Contacted, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Ali Garba Dandidi, confirmed the incident and faulted the community for not informing the ministry in good time.
He added that as at last month, October, when the ministry received their complaints, it deployed its personnel with preventive measures.
He explained that the ministry received a report of 39 deaths from different households, and stressed that after a thorough investigation, the tests of the blood samples collected identified malaria fever as the strange illness.
The permanent secretary attributed lack of patronage of public health institutions by the community as one possible factor that led to the outbreak of the disease.
SOURCE: INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER