Abdulrazaq Mungadi, Gombe
The United Nations Organization on Tuesday marked World Hepatitis Day (WHD). In Gombe, the day was devoid of any related activity. However, Filiya community in Shongom Local Government Area (LGA) of the State has appealed for the state government’s intervention to eliminate or slow down the spread of the disease.
Hepatitis is on the increase and has become an alarming issue in Filiya and its surrounding communities. According to the health officer of the community, the disease has become more deadly than every other disease in the area.
Bachile Alhassan is the Community Health Officer (CHO) and the manager of Filiya Primary Health Center (PHC), he told Daily Sun in a telephone interview that over 50 positives cases of the disease were identified and recorded in the last 3 months in the area alone.
He stated that 4 out of10 suspected cases tested in last one week turned out to be positive. He said: “I want to call on the state government to intervene, because our people are dying of the disease more than any other disease in this area”.
He also said that the rate of the infection is high and increasing not just in Filiya community but in the whole of the LGA.
He explained however that officials of the LGA had made efforts at slowdown the spread of the disease: “We have gone round to educate our people on the mode of transmission of the disease so that they can know how to protect themselves in other to lessen the rate of the infection.
He revealed that the LGA has not been able to effectively treat or manage the disease due to the non-availability of the needed health facility.
He said: “Our challenges is that in the whole of Shongom LGA we don’t have a general hospital or any cottage hospital, all we have is a referrer health center, so if we identify any positive case of Hepatitis we refer them for proper care and management in the secondary level of the health institution that is in the state Specialist Hospital in Gombe”.
Bachile equally lamented the non-availability of medical doctors in the PHC which sees between 30 and 40 inpatients daily. He said: “We don’t have doctors here, the CHO and the chews in the health facility are the ones consulting and admitting inpatients. This is the pressing issue for us in Shongom LGA.
Efforts to speak to officials of the Gombe State Primary Health Care Development Agency (GSPHCDA) proved abortive as the Executive Secretary (ES) Dr. Abdulrahaman Shuaibu was not on his seat and could not be reached through phone calls. Even text message sent to his lines could not be returned as of the time of filling in this report.
However, the chairman of Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) coalition Malam Alhassan Yahya told Daily Sun that the state government is working towards intervening on the issue in Filiya.
He said: “I was in Filiya last month and the situation I saw there, is alarming, they have a high rate of Hepatitis, I noticed in every 10 people that came to the facility for testing 6 to 7 have Hepatitis. Also one other thing I observed in the community is that they have only one primary health care facility.
I went to the state ministry of health to advocate for the upgrade of the PHC in the community, which the commissioner of health assured me that the file requesting for the upgrade of the Filiya PHC to a cottage hospital had been submitted before the state governor.
I am not from the community but what I saw during my visit was really pathetic,” Alhassan said while urging the state government to do needful in addressing the suffering people in Filiya community.