YELLOW fiver outbreak: Mother dies and leaves little twins children behind
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Pain and anxiety have gripped the people of Ndingele, Ndiyoko, Nkumoro, Abarigwe and Nduenwugo villages in the Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State after bouts of yellow fever sneaked like a thief in the night into the dreary area.
The disease has claimed the lives of women, men, children and two nursing mothers, and one of them left behind three months old twins: Annes and Confidence.
Miss Nkechi Ogbonna, elder sister to Egoyibo and Samuel Ogbonna, affected by the disease, was downcast as she watched over her siblings at a clinic in Ndingele.
She hurriedly prayed for the preservation of her siblings’ lives as our correspondent approached for an interview. She said the government underestimated the figure by announcing that only 16 persons had been claimed by the disease.
“She said, “My siblings’ case started when they complained of severe body pains and started having a headache, vomiting constantly, passing yellowish urine and exhibiting joint fatigue. When the situation became serious, we rushed them to the hospital and they were admitted immediately.
“The disease is killing our people. Many have died and if care is not taken, many more will die. We urge the government to intervene to save our community from the disease. Many people died even before it was noticed by the 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 case. The case now is that something should be done to stop it.”
Thirty-seven-year-old Martin Nwogha, a farmer from Ndiyoko village, is another victim.
Nwogha said he was on his farm last week when suddenly severe cold gripped him.
He stated, “Ordinarily, each time I had such kind of cold, I would get inside the bush, get some herbs, squeeze water from them and drink. Thereafter, I would get better. But this time round, it was a different experience.
“I started vomiting, passing yellowish urine, feeling severe headache, body and joint pains. It was at that point that I told my younger brother to arrange for a commercial motorcyclist to take me to the clinic because my strength was already failing me. We are afraid of what may happen in the communities.”
He said it was at the hospital he was tested and said to be yellow fever positive.
He also insisted that the disease had become rampant in his village, killing many people, urging the government at all levels to urgently come up with measures to tackle the virus.
A younger brother to Nwogha, Kelechi, assisting him at the clinic, said the situation was disturbing, calling on the government and all stakeholders to jointly tackle it to save the lives of the poor masses, most of whom he said were already faced with terrible hardship in the hinterlands.A deadly virus robs twins of mum
Mrs Felicia Nwenyim eyes have become sore from cries as she sat weakly beside the bed of her nine-month-old son. The baby is receiving medication attention at the Ndingele clinic after the virus gripped him.
His distraught mother was restless as our correspondent calmed her, seeking to know the child’s condition.
“My child was hit by yellow fever. We were told that mosquito caused it. The disease has killed many people both old and young in my village, Nkumoro. There is fear in the community. What have we done to deserve this? We are now afraid to sleep because we don’t know who may die next. 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 even a baby,’’ she said weakly.
A-59-year old Peter Nwovu from Nkumoro village is an Izzi man whose family had been worst hit by the viral disease.
Nwovu on August 7, 2019, lost a sister-in-law, Mrs Onyeka Nwanigor, to the disease. Nwanigor was nursing three-month twins 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, one of my daughters’ told me that Nwanigor was sick to the point that she couldn’t eat. She said she had severe pains. 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 her eyes became yellowish. I took her to a patent medicine dealer who advised that I take her to a 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 at the place. They suggested that we take her to Iboko General Hospital, but there was no way we could take her there. She was weak at the time. Eventually, I took her there and the doctor was called and he recommended some drugs and placed her on a drip. The first drip finished and she had yet to take a second drip when suddenly she started screaming and thereafter died.
“As for the twins, they are three months old, a boy and a girl. It was suggested that a particular woman should breastfeed 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 them.
“I was advised to meet the council chairman when some government officials came to the clinic and someone reported our plight to them. But since our road is bad, I need to prepare before travelling to see them.
“I decided to keep the children under my custody because my bereaved brother is a young man and so emotional. 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, concerned individuals and NGOs to come to our aid and help train the twins. I call on the government to do something to stop this disease because it is killing our people. From this village alone, over 10 persons have died since the disease started.’’
At the Izzi MDGs healthcare facility, our correspondent met a 22-year-old young lady, Egoyibo Ogbonna, and her 13-year-old younger brother, Samuel. Both Egoyibo and Samuel are yellow fever patients at the hospital, where two other victims were hospitalised.
They looked frail, helpless, with yellowish eyes and dried lips in their cow skin-like hospital beds.
Egoyibo said gently, “When the sickness started, I tried all orthodox drugs and herbs but none worked. It was later that I was brought to the hospital. This is the only health centre in the area. When a disease of this nature comes, it would kill many people because there are no well-equipped hospitals in this area.