Kwara health agency alerts on diarrhoea in children

Kwara state Primary Healthcare Development Agency has alerted nursing mothers of the dangers of diarrhoea in teething children under five years of age.

Speaking at a stakeholders engagement meeting on the introduction of a vaccine for Rotavirus disease in children below five years in the state, the executive director of the agency, Dr Nusirat Elelu, said that diarrhoea in children growing teeth is a myth and not a normal health condition.

Represented by the director of Primary Health Care systems, Dr Michael Oguntoye, she said that it is normal for a child to grow teeth, adding that growing teeth among children under five years should not normally be associated with diarrhoea.

The health expert also enjoined stakeholders and parents to present their children under five years of age for Rotavirus vaccination at health facilities close to them starting from August 27, saying that Rota vaccines would help reduce the worrisome high infant mortality rate in the country.

He said that the vaccination exercise should be encouraged among people as diarrhoea kills children fast, adding that the vaccine is not harmful to children and it is free.

Also speaking, another health expert in the agency, Dr Nurudeen Adana, said that Rotavirus infection, discovered in 1973, causes diarrhoea among U-5 children, especially, in warm and dry months of the year.

“Almost every child would have had it before age 5. The signs include fever, vomiting, watery diarrhoea, inability to sit or stand, abdominal pain, dehydration, sunken eyes, irritability etc. It lasts between three to seven days and it does not respond to antibiotics. It runs its course, unlike other ailments. It’s transmitted through the passing of faeces, contaminated food items, faeces to the mouth or indirectly. There’s no treatment for it, except symptomatic treatment whereby lost fluid is restored to the body.

“Though all the preventive measures below are necessary, they are not enough to prevent the virus. So, prevention is by the vaccine in order to reduce its severity. Also, physical hygiene, exclusive breastfeeding to reduce infection, as well as safe drinking water, would help”.

The consultant paediatrician in the Children Hospital, Centre Igboro, in the Ilorin metropolis, Dr Mosunmola Folorunso, in her speech, emphasised the importance of physical/environmental hygiene among nursing mothers and children in order to prevent diarrhoea among children.

She also said that frequent hand washing is essential for the protection and safety of children, adding that humans contract many diseases through unhygienic environments or hands not disinfected.

The stakeholders present at the meeting include representatives of religious and traditional communities, market leaders, professional bodies, and military and paramilitary agencies, among others.

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