A five-year-old boy and nursery 2 pupil of Immaculate Heart Conception School in Uwalakande village, Okpoitumo Autonomous Community, Jerome Nwome, have died after taking a tablet of deworming pill in Izzi LGA of Ebonyi State.
Narrating the incident, the victim’s mother, Mrs Ukamaka Nwome said 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.
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.
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.
Reacting, the officer in charge of the Center, Mr Paulinus Ngwuta said that the staff did not have any 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.
According to him, the drug was distributed across the Federation and on a particular day but the victim refused to take the pill.
He added that after the family learnt of the child’s refusal they requested for the medicine from the health workers known as Community Direct Distributors with the assurance that a friendly approach would be adopted to administer the drug.
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.
“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.
Police spokesman Loveth Odah said she was not aware of the incident at the time of this report.