Last two weeks, a ‘strange disease’ reportedly hit Majiya village, in Taura local government area of Jigawa state, claimed lives and left the people in nightmares and jitters. BAYO ALABIRA reports
Outbreak of strange disease
Like the outbreak of meningitis in November 2017, in Gidan, Dugu in Dutse local government area, which claimed the lives of about 40 children, presently too, about the same number of children were reportedly killed by a strange disease in Majiya village, in Taura local government area of Jigawa state.
According to media reports, about two week ago, the victims died of weakness of the body, numbness, and high fever. Our correspondent who visited Majia village, discovered also that the victims in the hospital complained of high fever, body weakness and numbness in their legs, among others symptoms.
In the village, one of the parents whose three years old child died of the disease, Ali Sunusi, explained that his child died from the ailment which at time was not known by experts.
Nature of the disease
Also, the deceased father told our Correspondent that he did all he could to save the life of his only child, but to no avail when she started feeling feverish and there was no doctor in their healthcare centre to attain to them, then, they went to a pharmacy shop to buy any available drug for his child.
He said “all attempts to get the attention of the medical personnel in our village to come to our rescue failed, as they told us to take the patient to Taura General Hospital, a distance of about 30 kilometres giving excuses of not having sufficient drugs to deal with the situation in our village”.
Also, Mallam Ya’u Salisu, a father of 12 year old Ummu Kulsum, said he took his daughter for treatment, to a chemist during the day when she complained of having severe headache immediately she returned from school.
According to Ya’ u, she was relieved at that time because of the drug they gave her, only for her to start stooling later at night and they had to rush her back to the chemist to administer a drip on her, but she died few minutes later.
Clutches of death
Another parent, Mallam Usman, said his 11 years old son was rescued from the clutches of death after he was admitted at the Taura General Hospital, for the same disease, but that his son “is now deaf, he could not talk except through signs”.
He said his son who is now in Primary 4 has recovered from the ailment but could no longer hear or speak, but remembered the way he had suffered during struggle to save his life.
Therefore, when our correspondent visited Taura General Hospital, he sighted scores of children from same village on admission, while about 10 of them were discharged and returned to Majiya after they were certified by Doctors to be ok.
In the village the communities told Blueprint that the situation in the village would have not been as worse as it was, but because there was no drug in the Comprehensive Health Centre, which caused their children to die in their presence without remedy.
They also called on the authorities saddled with the responsibilities of providing healthcare to do something urgent to come to their aid by bringing enough drugs that can deal with the situation at hand.
However, on noticing the presence of journalists in Majiya, on fact finding, the council chairman of Taura, accompanied by some people suspected to be his supporters trailed and monitored the movement of reporters.
Council chairman fumed
The council chairman and his supporters who trailed the journalists up to the Comprehensive Centre where only a lady was attending to patients, was visibly annoyed and questioned the presence of news men in his local government without his permission.
Even though the visit by news men was acknowledged by the villagers who saw it as a move to rescue them from the undisclosed disease, which the government has failed to tell them what it is. For the villagers, the journalists were there to unravel the circumstances behind The outbreak of the disease and bring the attention of those responsible to tackle the epidemic once and for all.
And in order to avoid the unexpected from happening and unnecessary provocation by the council chairman and his supporters, the journalists had to return back to Dutse.
Confronted by the reality on ground, the a state Commissioner of Health, Dr Abba Umar Zakari, said the state government had given a directive for procurement of drugs worth N98 Million, to be distributed among the 31 new primary healthcare centres recently built by the present administration and the old ones across the state.
Addressing journalists on the grisly situation the commissioner said every year the change of weather comes with certain diseases such as Cerebral Spinal Meningitis (CSM), Cholera as well as the hot weather associated diseases and this year the situation is under control.
Dr Zakari, further explains that the state falls within the belt on which whenever the time comes round such outbreak is expected to occur without notice, that is why measures are usually taken as pro-active to prevent such.
The commissioner confirmed that only14 people died of the CSM since it started some months ago. He pointed out that among the 51persons suspected to have been infected and taken to the hospital for laboratory test, 10 were confirmed to have the CSM.
On the recent outbreak at Majiya village, where many children reportedly died of the CSM, the commissioner said a team of Medical experts were sent to curb the menace with immediate effects.
According to him, presently, “the drug on ground is inadequate because the CSM is always found in types,, type A,B,C and so on, which makes it very difficult for any drug to be administered on the patients, it may likely not cure all the types.
“The sample of blood or fluid of the patients have to be taken for laboratory test to know which type is suitable for which drug”.