No fewer than nine children have died as gastroenteritis outbreak, commonly known as inflammation of the stomach and intestines, hits Damangaza community in the Federal Capital Territory.
This was made known by the executive secretary of the FCT Primary Health Care Development Board, Dr. Rilwanu Mohammed, at the weekend in Abuja.
Speaking to Nigerian Pilot, Mohammed said that there was an outbreak of gastroenteritis which had killed at least nine children in the Hawusawa community in Damangaza village.
He said that the first case of the epidemic was on June 15 when a seven-year-old girl died from the inflammatory disease.
According to the FCT PHCDB boss, there are 41 cases out of which nine victims died.
“There are nine deaths and 41 cases; some of them are undergoing operations at Asokoro District Hospital. All victims are suffering from abdominal distension (enlargement), fever and diarrhoea, although we are yet to take the diagnosis but we have taken the samples to Asokoro Hospital, Centre for Disease Control, the University of Ibadan and Maitama Hospital to ascertain the diagnosis,” he explained.
Speaking on the cause of the disease outbreak, Mohammed said that the environments wre very dirty with no adequate supply of clean water.
“They have two boreholes to service the community but they buy kegs of water for 20 naira so the villagers prefer to fetch water from their stream which is very dirty. They don’t have electricity to maintain the boreholes so they prefer to use the stream water.’’
“When the FCT PHCB was informed that there are cases in this community we carried out interventions to sensitize the people on clean environment, teach them how to use clean and boiled water during epidemics and to wash their hands before and after eating and visiting the toilet; in addition to breastfeeding of their children,” he said.
Mohammed said that World Health Organization, WHO, and FCT Department of Public Health had mobilised a camp at Damangaza Hawusawa community with doctors at the local government to attend to sick patients and to carry out HIV/AIDS and malaria screening services for indigenes.
Furthermore, Mohammed said, “We provided Vitamin A, worn expeller for the children with immunisation including injectibles polio immunisation vaccines for all eligible children, adding that are gaps in that area because some of them are from the Internally Displaced Persons camps from the insecurity zones.
“A road show was organised by the healthcare board in conjunction with WHO to create awareness on exclusive breastfeeding in the communities as work show from Parade ground to Area 1 Shopping Complex,” he concluded.
Outbreak looms in Lokoja
In the meantime, palpable fear over possible outbreak of epidemic disease has gripped residents of kogi State capital, Lokoja, as water scarcity bites harder in the town due to the lingering power outage in the capital city.
Survey across the city revealed that residents have been lamenting in the last few weeks over the ugly development, which they said had unsettled them, with many saying it had economic and psychological implications.
It was gathered that presently, over 50 percent of the water needs of the town are being serviced through boreholes, shallow wells and water vendors while less than 10 percent of the residents have access to public water.
However, water from all these sources have gone dry due to lack of public power supply and petrol to power the generators with which the borehole are run pumping.
It was also gathered that inadequate supply of water to residents of Lokoja may spark up water pollution with attendant poor sanitation and water-borne diseases any moment.
According to Dr Mahmud Garba, a resident of Lokoja, in a situation where many inhabitants of Lokoja traditional areas like Kabawa, Cantonment, Agwa-kura, Agwa-Rimi and many others have their baths in open spaces because of lack of public or private bathrooms and toilets, water from these activities usually contaminates the wells and boreholes around.