By Daniel Ayantoye
Children, tree fellers and herdsmen dominate list of casualties of the mysterious death that has claimed the lives of no fewer than 74 people in 15 settlement of Oro-Ago in Ifelodun Local Government Area of Kwara State,National Pilot, learnt, yesterday.
The medical doctor in charge of ECWA Health Centre and Maternity, Oro-Ago, Dr. Obayan Philip, who revealed this to our reporter during visit to the affected areas, said he personally treated four cases, stating that those affected must have contracted the strange disease from the bush.
“In June this year, there was a time they brought a child who could not talk or stand, he also vomited blood clots. I was told that boy actually went grazing a day before. I checked the child and gave him referral but before they could prepare a vehicle, the child gave up.
“That same month, they brought a woman that was stooling and vomiting the blood cloth. I carried out a physical examination but to my dismay the woman died. In July I also lost another lady and a man. This health facility does not have capacity to deal with the ailment.
“I initially suspected yellow fever and maybe viral hemorrhage and made referals. I lost four patients and referred 8 to Omu-Aran General Hospital. The victims are predominantly Fulani, “he intimated.
Meanwhile, a Fulani man, Alkali Muhammed told this medium that his son is one of the survivors of the mysterious ailment.
Muhammed said his son had all the symptoms of the strange disease and was immediately taken to the hospital in the community from where he was referred to a health facility in Gbugbu, Patigi Local Government Area.
“My son was adequately taken care of at the hospital and fortunately he survived it unlike others who lost the battle to the strange disease. Out of the six people taken to the hospital, two died,” he divulged.
However, the Jowuro of Fulani settlements in the area, Alhaji Umar Sori has insisted that the 74 people were lost to the strange illness.
Speaking in a telephone chat with this medium yesterday, the Commissioner for Health, Alhaji Sulyman Atolagbe Alege, said there were epidemiological processes for reporting a suspected disease outbreak in the state, adding that if any occurred, the state health response team would be the first to swing into action.
Alege stated that the Ministry of Health had on Thursday deployed a team in the Gaa Okuta community, adding that the team found no evidence of any strange illness or casualty.
He also claimed that members of the community said there was no outbreak of any disease in the area or any record of death.
The Commissioner said samples from the community have been taken to the laboratory and the preliminary report by the state epidemiologist and the World Health Organisation, WHO will come out today (Monday).
He however maintained that the report remains a rumour until result of the test comes out.
But the Fulani leader, Sori, contested the state government’s claim just as he gave names of the dead victims to include, Hadiza Michede (female), Fatimah Baguga (Female), Ide Muhammed (male), Shehu Adamu(male), Muhammed Irua, Umaru Dodi, Wety Sajo (female), Hauwau Bagu, (female), Adijatu Abubakar (female), Muhamed Gide, Umaru Dogari, Umaru Babangida, Usman Babangida, Aliu Namabila, Delu Umar, and Aishatu Aliu (female).
The community leader said in an emotional laden voice, “My people are dying in Oro-Ago. Within one month, 74 people have died. Some people are also sick now. There are no drugs in hospitals in Oro-Ago to take care of my people.
“I want to beg the Federal Government to help me take care of my people. We don’t have doctors in the General Hospital, Oro-Ago. The Federal Government should provide doctors at the General Hospital, Oro-Ago. The victims usually have headaches; then they vomit blood, and they die.”
Our reporter was conducted round the newly dug graves of victims in Obu area off Oreke road, Oro-Ago and counted about 11 graves.
Also speaking on the development, the Oloro of Oro-Ago, Oba Tafa Dada who confirmed the recurring death from the strange ailment said he got wind of the unfortunate incident when he sent his men to capture the numbers of non -indigenes in his domain.
“I feel pained that I could be quoted as saying that there was no strange death.
“The matter was first reported to me by the leaders of the communities concerned, the Jowuro and Wakali, so why would I say it didn’t happen,” the Oloro added.