By Boluwaji Obahopo— Lokoja
AS the threat posed by worms continues to afflict many communities in Nigeria, a public-spirited organisation has taken steps to educate many communities in Kogi State and provide medical support to prevent the escalation of the health challenge going forward.
The non-governmental organisation leading the way to save lives in some communities of the state, known as the Hallelujah Medical Mission, HMM, has already taken the campaign to reduce the threat of the worms to Mopamuro Local Government Area of Kogi State with tales of joy flowing from there.
The NGO succeeded in telling the rural dwellers how to prevent worm infections and at the same time carried out medical outreach for over 200 children in Mopa community in Mopamuro LGA within the week. As part of the medical outreach, the children were also de-wormed and given free drugs such as Vitamin A, multivitamins, paracetamol tablets, anti-malarial drugs and some provisions.
Leader of the medical outreach team, Dr. Muyiwa Komolafe, of the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, explained that the medical outreach to Mopa community was targeted at children between the ages of one and seven.
Dr. Komolafe said that going by successes recorded during the experiement, the group would be staging the medical outreach yearly to assist in instilling the spirit of proper hygiene in the children so as to prevent infectious diseases.
He said the gesture would not only be for the children but would also be extended to the entire population in the community and spread across the LGAs of the state in subsequent years.
Komolafe said: “Today, we have taught the children basic personal hygiene such as proper handwashing, bathing, teeth brushing, covering of food, cutting of hair and nails, among others. We have also given the children de-worming tablets, multivitamins, paracetamol and anti-malarial drugs so as to complement government’s efforts in having healthy children in the society.
”We prepared for 200 children but the turnout was more. We are happy that the people responded, and we are able to reach out to all of them and put smile on their faces today”.
Also speaking, Mr. Gbotemi Komolafe, a co-team leader of the mission, explained that the Hallelujah Medical Mission, which is an arm of the Hallelujah Fire on Mountain Mission Ministry, was established to specifically attend to the basic health needs of the rural populace to ensure that they live a healthy lifestyle. Some parents, whose children benefitted from the medical outreach, thanked the mission for the gesture.
Parasitic worms are one of the major public health challenges in children, particularly in the rural areas of Nigeria. An estimated 58 percent of school children are said to be infected. Highest on the list are pin worm, hookworm, amongst others.
In Kogi State, five of the major worms, infecting school children in order of prevalence are: Fasciola spp (33.10%), Trichiuris trichiura (24.30%), Ascaris lumbricoides (21.60%), Hookworm (18.20%) and Enterobius vermicularis (2.70%).