..Mother of 3month old twins killed by the disease, family appeals for Help

..Health officials decry ill equipped center

There is palpable fear across the villages of Mgbalukwu and Ndieze communities in Izzi LGA, of Ebonyi State, following the recent recorded cases of Yellow Fever disease in the area.

This is coming few days after the public declaration of the deadly disease by the Permanent Secretary, designated, Ministry of Health, Dr. Chris Achi.

 The four new patients were met at MDGs Health Centre, Ndingele Village in Mgbalukwu ward 2.

The Voice correspondent who visited the centre observed that there were increased cases of the deadly disease as no fewer than four patients were being admitted at the centre on daily basis including babies, according health officers working there.

It was learnt that most of the patients came from Nkumoro and Ndiewugo villages where more than twenty victims had been recorded since the outbreak including a mother of three month- old twins.

The outbreak which was discovered since 26th July, 2019 had recorded fifteen more cases before now and in addition to that, eighteen fresh cases were discovered on Monday this week.

 Those killed by the Yellow fever diseases include women, men, children and two nursing mothers, and of the nursing mothers, one left behind three months old twins: Annes and Confidence.

However, Mrs. Uguru Susan, Officer in Charge MDGs Ndingele and her assistant, Mrs. Ogbangba Grace lamented that the centre had faced serious challenges in efforts to treat the affected victims. She said they suffer setbacks because the centre doesn’t have enough man power as well needed equipment to enable them attend properly to the affected persons.

They lamented that the centre treats patients with handset torchlight since they have no light and the available generator was not functional, even as, as the mosquitoes treated nets were not enough.

They appreciated the effort of Ebonyi State government for their intervention but appealed for provision of more drugs and Medical experts to save the community, hence, urged federal government to make provision for water and equip the centre to serve the people of the area better.

Meanwhile, the government, had in the wake of the outbreak, equally said that those affected by the virus were moved from the villages to Iboko General Hospital and the Virology Centre.

It also said that with the combined team of health professionals in the State’s Ministry of Health, NCDC, World Health organization amongst others, the disease had been contained, and those hospitalized had been treated, discharged and returned to the villages.

A visit by The Voice corresponding to the areas, showed that the disease was still very much alive in the rural area, every now and then one or two family members are being affected, children are still being admitted for treatment at the only health centre within, and those looking after them are still expressing fears and worry over possible outcome.

The Yellow fever still ravages and kills indigenes of Ndingele, Ndiyoko, Nkumoro and Nduenwugo and Abarigwe villages’ even people across the community.

At Ndingele Mgbalukwu Izzi, MDGs healthcare facility, our correspondent met a 22-year-old young lady, Egoyibo Ogbonna and her 13-year-old younger brother, Samuel Ogbonna. Both Egoyibo and Samuel are Yellow fever patients at the hospital, where another two more patients of the same viral disease, were hospitalized.

Looking frail, helpless, with yellowish eyes and dry lips in their cow skin-like hospital beds, they shared their experiences and called on government and World Health Organization to save the community from the deadly disease.

The Twins whose mother died of the yellow fever attack

According to Egoyibo, “When the sickness started, I tried all Orthodox drugs and herbs but all to no avail. It was after that, that I was brought to this hospital. This is because this is the only health centre in this area.

While she said she had hope of recovering from the illness, she equally expressed fear that the disease might still kill many people, because according to her, there are no well equipped hospitals within the area for the treatment of the virus.

“Our fear and worry is that this hospital is the only one in this locality. When disease of this nature comes, it would kill many people because there are no well equipped hospitals here.

“The disease started with cold all over my body, vomiting, fatigue, cough, headache, itches on my private part and general body pains,” she said.

Her younger brother, Samuel, shared similar experience. He said the virus had become rampart in their community, stressing that it had affected many people there.

He observed that his condition before he got to the clinic was severe, adding that presently, he could talk and move some parts of his body freely.

Little Samuel, who appealed to both the state and federal governments to expedient  action on their plans to arresting the situation, noted that the only way more deaths would not be recorded in  the communities, is for the authorities to build and equip hospitals in the rural areas.

He said, “I can say that I’m better now than before. I can talk, move my hands and legs easily now. But it was severe. Since I haven’t died yet, I won’t die again.

“The sickness has become common in my village. It has killed people and still affects others. My sister and I are here and we are both affected by the Yellow fever. Governments should save lives in our community by building hospitals and putting the necessary things there. There is no good hospital here.”

Relatives of the affected persons, also have stories to tell and fears to express, as indigenes of the communities continue to battle the disease.

Miss Nkechi Ogbonna, elder sister to both Egoyibo and Samuel Ogbonna, admitted that her community was under siege of the scourge and noted that her siblings’ case was one out of the many cases of Yellow fever in the locality.

Nkechi, who is tending to her affected younger ones in the clinic at Ndingele, said her prayer to God was let what (death) had happened to others, not happen to her siblings.

She added that the 16 earlier persons announced had died of the disease, was not the exact number, adding that it was underestimated.

She told our correspondent that many people had died of the virus, pointing out that the way it was killing people in the communities, she wished government had intervened earlier.

“My siblings’ case stated when they complained of severe body pains and started having headache, constant vomiting, yellowish urine, joint fatigue. When the situation became serious, we rushed them to the hospital this morning (Monday) and they were admitted immediately, which I can say that the nurses here are trying.

“This is killing our people. A lot have died and if care is not taken, many more will die. We pray government to intervene in order to save our community from this disease. Many people died even before it was noticed by government that the disease has started killing people. The 16 persons that they said died is not the actual number. That is even not the problem. The problem now is what should be done to stop it,” Nkechi said. 

Another patient suffering from the disease was Martin Nwogha, a 37-year-old farmer, from Ndiyoko village.

Nwogha said he was in his farm last week, when all of a sudden severe cold gripped him.

According to him, “Ordinarily, each time I had this kind of cold, I would get inside the bush, get some herbs, squeeze water from them and drink, thereafter I would get well. But this around, it was a different experience.

“I started vomiting, passing yellowish urine, feeling severe headache, body pains and joint pains. It was at this point that I told my younger brother to arrange for a motorcyclist to take me to the clinic, because my strength was already failing me.”

He said it was at the hospital that he was tested and confirmed Yellow fever positive, adding that the virus does not show mercy to any person, because it is killing the old and the young.

He also insisted that the disease had become rampart in his village and has killed many people, appealing to government at all levels to urgently come up with measures to ensure it was stamped out of the area.

Also expressing fears about the virus, was Kelechi Nwogha, younger brother to Martin Nwogha, who tended to his elder brother at the clinic.

Kelechi described the situation as disturbing and alarming and called on the government and all stakeholders to swing into action to save the lives of the poor masses, who, according to him, were already faced with terrible hardship in the hinterlands.

“Our village is on fire. Everybody is in fear, because many people have died from this sickness. I can’t say the exact figure, but many people have died and many are still being affected. We need government intervention, he stated.”

To Mrs. Felicia Nwenyim, the story was not a different one. Nwenyim has a 9-month old son, Obichukwu Nwenyim. Little Obichukwu has also been affected with the virus and was currently receiving treatment at the clinic in Ndingele.

Looking into his yellowish eyes, our correspondent observed a little child, under the cold grip of Yellow fever and, the child was restless and shouted all through the interaction. According to one of the three nurses in the hospital, that was a sign that little Obichukwu’s case had become severe.

According to Mrs Nwenyim, “My child is a victim of the Yellow fever. We were told that it is caused by Mosquito.

“The disease has killed so many people both old and young, in Nkumoro my village. There is fear in the community. What have we done to deserve this? These days, you can’t sleep with your two eyes close, because you don’t know who might be the next to die. The entire village is cold and no joy again, because almost every family is in sorrow.

“I appeal to the state government to distribute mosquito treated nets to people in the entire community, because nobody is safe here, even a little baby. A good example is my small child.”

A-59-year old man, Peter Nwovu, from Nkumoro village, was another Izzi man whose family had been worst hit by the viral disease.

Nwovu had on August 7, 2019, lost a sister in-law, Mrs. Onyeka Nwanigor, to the disease. Mrs. Nwanigor had three-month old twins she nursed, until the virus claimed her life. Today, the twins, Annes and Confidence are without a mother. Nwovu is the one taking care of the twins and their six other siblings.

Nwovu said, “It all started on Saturday when I was informed of my nephew’s wife illness. When I got home from Church the following day, Sunday, one of my daughters’ told me that aunty was seriously sick to the point that she had refused to eat and that she said she had severe pains all over her body. I rushed there and asked her if she had taken drugs, she said she took herbs. I prayed for her.

“The following day, the sickness became serious that all her eyes became yellowish. I took her to a patent medicine dealer who advised that I take her to the hospital at Ndingele. She was taken to the hospital the following day and after narrating her situation to the nurses there, they said there was no Doctor there. They suggested that we take her to Iboko General Hospital, but there was no way we could take her there and again, she was already weak. Eventually, I took her there and the Doctor was called and he recommended what I should buy and which I provided and she was placed on drip. The first drip finished and she was not able to take the second one, when all of a sudden she started screaming and thereafter died.

“As for the twins, they are three months old, a boy and girl. It was suggested that a particular woman breast feed them but after I made enquiries I suspended the idea and opted for baby milk, which I had been borrowing money from a Church member to buy for them. This has been serving as breast milk for them, since their mother died.

“I was advised to meet the Local Government Chairman when some government officials came to the clinic and someone reported our plights to them. But since our road is very bad, I needed to prepare before traveling to see them.

“I decided to keep the children under my custody because my bereaved brother is a young man and so emotional that I fear if I allow him to be with the twins together with the other six children, they may not survive.

“I beg Ebonyi State Government and all concerned individuals, NGOs to come to our aid and help train the twins. I also call on government to do something to stop this disease, because it is killing our people. From this village alone, more than ten persons have died since the outbreak of the disease. According to the Medical Director of Iboko General Hospital, Dr. Okpo Solomon, “Now, it was on July 15th, 2019 that they brought some patients here in the hospital. Some of them came with yellowish eyes and were very weak. Some of them said they had gone to some places where they were administered herbs.”

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