JUBA – The Vice President for Service Custer, Hussein Abdelbagi Akon has promised to take care of school children who developed adverse side effects after taking deworming tablets in Ibba County of Western Equatoria.
Abdelbagi made this promise during his one-day visit to Ibba County on Wednesday.
“We will continue to monitor the situation of those school children who are still at Ibba PHCC and Maridi hospital and we promise to look after them until they fully recover,” Abdelbagi said on Wednesday in Ibba County.
He said the government will take the sample of the tablets to Kenya for further investigation.
“We will take the sample of the medicine to Kenya, Uganda or Sudan for laboratory test and the result shows that the medicine administered in Ibba County is harmful, we will not leave those who brought the medicine here,” he said.
“The Ministry of Health in Juba is not against the people of Ibba because those ministers and Undersecretary are mothers who have children at home and I don’t think they can send a medicine that can kill children of Ibba County,” he added.
The Ministry of Health and W.H.O launched a mass drug administration campaign in Ibba County last week targeting children between the ages of 5 and 16.
More than seven hundred school Children who were given the deworming tablets called Praziquantel against Bilharzia later suffered terrible adverse effects.
Alfred Futuyo, Governor of Western Equatoria State, denied having any knowledge about the vaccination campaign carried by the ministry of health and World Health Organization.
“The medicine was brought to Ibba by two undersecretaries in Juba and administered by community members, the medicine was not brought by the commissioner and the governor or the state,” Futuyo said.
Futuyo said there are more school children affected by deworming tablets in Maruko and Nabanga and they don’t have means to transport them to Ibba County.
“We are requesting you to provide us with medicine that can cure these children because we have 150 children in hospital,” he said.
Mary Nawai Martin, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs stressed the need to upgrade this Ibba County Primary Health Center into a hospital in a bid to save the lives of the community.
“I am appealing to you to upgrade this Ibba County Primary Health Center into a hospital to help save the lives of people of this community because you have seen the health crisis here,” Nawai said.
Anjima Erinoma, a mother whose child developed adverse side effect, who spent five-days in hospital lost hope of her child getting better again.
“We are shocked with what happened to our children, we have spent five days here in the hospital and we are wondering whether our children will be fine even when they are discharged from the hospital,” she said.
“This medicine has affected our children. They complained of chest pain every five minutes. At one point, the patient may feel better and in the next few minutes, they start vomiting,” she added.
Nyomuse Clera Peter, primary eight pupil of Ibba Girls Primary School disclosed that the oral tablets were administered by teachers and the community who distributed drugs based on the height and physical appearance of each child.
“The people who administered the medicine were only trained for two-days, they are not medical personnel, and they are members of the community, one of them is our teacher and other three school girls who have not completed senior four,” Clera said.
Naboro Victor, senior one student at Ibba Girls Primary School “I have faced a lot of consequences from this medicine. When this medicine was given to us during break time when we only took breakfast and after taking it, I felt somehow sick.”
“I took the medicine and when it approached lunch time and after eating, I felt a headache and I reported it to the tour staff who told me to go and sleep. I don’t remember what happened next, I only found myself in the hospital. I have been under oxygen for two-days, I couldn’t breathe,” Victor said.
“This medicine has affected me and my colleagues and I don’t know if we will be able to continue with studies again since we are experiencing too much headache, it seems like it has damaged my brain,” she added.
“We would like the Minister of Health to bring a machine to scan our stomach to know whether this medicine has dissolved and to check our brains because who doesn’t know what will be the impact of this medicine in future.”
Taban Samuel, Clinical officer at Ibba PHCC said the children are responding well to the treatment.
“The incident on 1st of October, we started receiving cases from different primary schools within Ibba County and we received more than 140 pupils and out of that, we have also referred 128 patients to Maridi Hospital and four were put on oxygen here in Ibba PHCC,” Samuel said.