• Features
  • Updated: September 24, 2023

Kano: How Mother Lost Two Daughters To Undetected Diphtheria

Kano: How Mother Lost Two Daughters To Undetected Diphtheria

It was a sad week for Malama Maryam and her household last week as two of her children, both girls, died from undetected, untreated Diphtheria at Farawa in Kano.

The mother of two who was too grief-stricken to open up to the media sat with a blank expression as she recalled how she lost her two girls in two days.

A neighbour of the bereaved mother, Malama Jamila told AllNews Nigeria that it all started with neck pain.

"The girls complained that their necks hurt, and they were having trouble swallowing. The girls' father was not in town so she (the mother) called and informed him of the situation.

"The father said it was cold (sanyi) and instructed that their local barber (Wanzami, who also doubles as a herbalist) slightly cut one of the girls."

A cut like in tribal marks is sometimes used to treat certain diseases by the Wanzams.

Malama Jamila narrated that after one of the girls was subjected to the incision, the bleeding would not stop.

"They rushed her to the hospital where it was confirmed to be Diphtheria; she died on the same day," she said.

The neighbour, who was both sad and shocked, disclosed that the other sibling also passed away the next day from the same complications, though she did not receive the same treatment.

There Are About A Million Diphtheria Vaccines In Kano – UNICEF

But how do people still not understand the symptoms of Diphtheria despite numerous recorded cases?

AllNews Nigeria reached out to the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund and its Health Specialist, Vaccine Management, Dr Ahmad Isa Muhammad who harped on the necessity of creating awareness.

He said at the moment, " about one million vaccines have been provided for children to protect them against the disease."

He added that the Diphtheria cases in Kano are mostly recorded among under 14 children.

Muhammad further revealed that the disease spreads faster in congested, unclean areas, thus the high number of cases in Kano metropolitan local governments.

Kano Government's Efforts Could Pay Off

​​​Though Kano is seeing a rising number of deaths from the ailment, the specialist said there has been a notable reduction in the spread of the disease.

"When I came to Kano, I noticed that the state government is in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health, UNICEF and other institutions to fight the spread of Diphtheria."

He further said if the momentum is maintained, the efforts would soon pay off.

Currently, Kano has witnessed about 520 deaths from Diphtheria, with most cases recorded in Ungogo (2651), Dala (989), Fagge (943), Gwale (714), Kumbotso (713), Nassarawa (538), Kano Municipal (506) and Tarauni (269).

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