A five-year-old boy and nursery 2 pupils of Immaculate Heart Conception at Uwalakande village, Okpoitumo Autonomous Community, Master Jerome Nwome, penultimate weekend died after taking a tablet of deworming pill in Izzi LGA of Ebonyi State.
Narrating the incident, the victim’s mother, Mrs. Ukamaka Nwome told Citizens’ Advocate that her child was healthy before he was given the alleged killer medicine known as “Albendazole” by some staff of Offia Oji Health Center.
According to her, her son had initially rejected the medicine given by the health workers, but following the decision of some of her family members who wanted him to partake in the vaccination exercise, the tablet was administered to the boy which later led to his death shortly after he ingested the pill.
She disclosed that after the pill was administered on her son, he became unconscious and all efforts to resuscitate him proved abortive, he was quickly rushed to a medical Centre where he was confirmed dead by a medical doctor.
She could not believe that her son would not be resuscitated after taking the deworming pill which later took his life
Mrs. Nwome said her son did not complain of any ailment before he took the pill, and regretted the manner through which she lost her second child and condemns the lackadaisical attitude of the Centre’s personnel after the loss of her child.
The victim’s paternal grandmother, Mrs. Mbam Nwite also blamed those that were around during the incident for ignoring the boy’s reaction to the pill; she described the situation as an unpleasant one, but attributed it to fate.
However, after the incidence, the death of the boy dealt a heavy blow on the family, he was buried amidst tears.
In his reaction, Officer in charge of the Center, Mr. Paulinus Ngwuta told Citizens’ Advocate that his staff did not have hand in the boy’s death as the deworming tablet was solely administered by the victim’s relatives.
He disclosed that the Albendazole meant for the treatment of a Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) was donated by an International Non-Governmental Organization known as Carter Center was distributed across the Federation and on a particular day while his staff were on duty, the victim refused to take the pill.
He added that the family had seen the child’s action thereby requested for the medicine from the health workers known as Community Direct Distributors with the assurance that a friendly approach would be adopted while giving it.
He said that based on the plea, the medicine was released but shortly after, his men had gone out of the place, screaming was heard and upon their inquiry, it was discovered that Master Jerome died following his people’s action in forcing the tablet on him.
Mr. Ngwuta said, “After the distributors had gone out of the place, suddenly the people’s shout attracted their attention and in order to render a helping hand, the child was rushed to our Center where he was confirmed dead by a doctor.”
“The problem should not be associated with the medicine because such an incident has not been heard about the tablet in other parts of the Federation,” he explained.
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