An outbreak of strange illness has occurred in a community ward of Gidan Dugus village of Wangara District of Dutse LGA in Jigawa state, claiming the lives of over 50 children’s below the ages of five years, while 40 others have been hospitalized, and are currently receiving medical attention at Wangara Basic, Health Centres in Dutse Local government area of Jigawa state.
Investigations by the INDEPENDENT in the affected areas have revealed that the children under the ages of five to seven are dying on daily basis as a result of high fever, stomach ache, vomiting, diarrhea resulting in loss of blood, owing to the strange sickness which besieged the community in the last three month.
While on a visit to the area, INDEPENDENT discovered that most parents of the deceased children’s were observing mourning over the death of their wards, while those whose children were less affected are living in fear as the health condition of their wards continue to hang in the balance.
Haladu Usman, who lost his seven, revealed that he lost three male and four females children to the strange illness. “The children, aged between three, two and one-year-olds and an infant 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 at securing medication from nearby clinics for his children. The illness persisted and resulted in their death, he lamented.
“I was scared by this unknown sickness which consumed the lives of innocent children of this community,” he said sadly.
Also speaking, the ward head of Gidan Dugus, Mallam Umar Dashiru, said it is quite alarming and pathetic as the community now lives in fear and agony for what he described as a catastrophy, adding that the community now buries five to six children on daily basis due to the strange illness.
Mallam Dashiru, represented by Bashari Galadima, explained that the community had reported the case to the state government and it sent a team of medical personnel who took blood samples from some of the children and sent them for tests. But the results, vaccines and other drugs are still being awaited. Dutse local government has also sent them an assistance of cash to the affected victim’s parents.
Umar Dashiru added that parents took their sick children to nearby hospitals for treatment, and while some recovered, others gave up to ghost. He commended the state government for it’s concern and prayed for the repose of the souls of the deceased children.
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, adding 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, stressing 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 patronizing health institutions by the community as contributing factors to the outbreak of the disease.
He also queried the community for their ignorance about keeping health officials informed on time on their health status, and advised them to be wary of patronizing local chemists on their health matters. Rather, he urged them to always utilize appropriate health centers nearest to them.
SOURCE: INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER