Away from the famous Maiduguri Road in Kano, driving towards Sumaila Local Government Area, one has take the right lane, a journey of several kilometres heading to Gani – a suburb central location connecting many villages under Sumaila Local Government Area.
Moving through the dilapidated road from Gani to Gomo, it seems a journey that lasts almost forever. One wonders amidst the unfavourable situation how life has been to many living in such a ‘carved out’ area.
Upon arriving at Gomo, it is exactly a distance of 130 kilometers away from Kano metropolis. It’s a border town between Kano and Bauchi states, having a distance of just 2 kilometers apart.
It is an area widely known as ‘Heathen Settlement’, accommodating thousands of people.
Daily Trust Saturday crew was on a mission to Gomo to investigate the cause of rampant cases of cholera outbreak which for years have been ravaging communities under Sumaila Local Government Area, especially the most hit area, Gomo.
“Cut off from civilisation” could be used to describe this ‘hamlet’ that has yet to receive electricity supply and striving to get access to the GSM network.
It is believed that the Cholera outbreak, which is not far behind, left an indelible mark on the people of Gomo. A negative development they will not forget anytime soon.
The immediate past wave of the pandemic makes it the fourth consecutive year that cholera has had a devastating effect on the people.
Public healthcare providers have identified a lack of potable drinking water and poor sanitary habits as the main cause of the prevalence of the disease in the village.
It was also learnt that poor practice of personal and environmental hygiene coupled with unkempt sanitary conditions around water wells within houses and the public borehole is a source of concern.
However, one may wonder why the about 10,000 population of Gomo residents are forced to depend on just two boreholes as the source of drinking water.
Observing through some residential houses at the village, wells, of which families depend on, are visibly uncovered with the water polluted as a result of dust and some particles either thrown in or blown in by the wind.
Spirogyra coupled with weed growing from the top to almost every layer of the well is another sign of unhealthy lifestyle practiced by most households visited.
Meanwhile, people can be seen also performing ablution inside a carved area with static not running water – what they wash away from their bodies go back to the same water they are using.
Madurqui is a water stream being another source of water to about 70 per cent of Gomo inhabitants who are mostly native Fulani people.
Our correspondent observed that besides using the water to wash their clothes, bath and other needs, it is also used for ablution, cooking and drinking.
Upon arrival at the health facility at the community, one is welcomed by a faulty three wheel mini car, which has been abandoned for over two years.
Speaking on how the pandemic affected the people of Gomo, the medical personnel in charge of the clinic, Musa Shehu Maikyau, said it started from neighbouring communities before it extended to Gomo where it hit the most.
“It was really not easy for us when it broke out; it started from our neighbouring community called Kongoro Village which does not have healthcare facilities. So, the people usually come down here with their patients.
“Shortly after it subsided, it spread to a nearby Bura Village under Ningi Local Government of Bauchi State. It is not more than two to three kilometres away from Gomo. From there, it came back hitting right at Gomo.
“What we do anytime we receive a patient is that we immediately report to the head of our department in Sumaila informing us of the situation we are in.
“Some non-governmental organisations have assisted a lot in providing buckets, soaps and medicines in order to tackle the menace.
“We were not more than three personnel working at the clinic and it has come back strongly hitting our community. Patients are trooping in enmass.
“More than 500 patients were admitted and all were from Gomo. It started right from the heart of the community and later spread to other parts of the village.
“What we realised as the cause of the outbreak after several consultations and investigation was the practice of an unhygienic lifestyle. This is associated with the water we are using.”
Yahuza Ibrahim, a resident of Gomo, called for government’s intervention.
“The government needs to assist us in building drainages and construct more boreholes so we can access potable drinking water.
“Honestly, most of our wells around are in bad shape and are not clean. Most of the households depend on the two boreholes we have for clean drinking water because our wells are very dirty.
“When the boreholes dry up or get faulty, we don’t usually have any other option than to return to the wells or go to the river at the outskirts of the village to fetch water. Even when the boreholes break down, we tax ourselves to repair it.”
Junaidu Shitu is the traditional title holder of ‘Turakin Gomo’ who spoke on behalf of the Emir of Gomo, Isa Umar.
“What happened was an unfortunate circumstance we had ourselves dealing with which was not easy despite the efforts of the medical personnel on ground and the assistance of some nongovernmental organisations.
“The government and some politicians on their part played a vital role in providing the necessary aid we needed at the time.
“The cause of this outbreak is from nothing but the water we use. God so kind, it was treated – our wells were treated accordingly and everything subsided.
“We are still appealing to authorities concerned as we discussed and agreed to look into the issue in order to curtail future occurrence.
“We are a community with a population of over 10,000 people who depend on only two functional boreholes and other broken ones, then just our wells.”
When contacted to ascertain the measures in place to prevent future occurrence, the Director, Disease control, Kano Primary Healthcare Management Board, Dr Imam Wada, said all primary healthcare clinics especially in rural areas are at watch mode for reports of cholera cases in collaboration with the ministry of environment and WASH.
“We have a system for Cholera readiness and preparedness to checklist the development of activities, training of call centre agents on linkages with the community and reporting to the surveillance network, training of health educators, laboratory personnel, clinicians and environmental officers on ways to respond to Cholera outbreak in the future.”
He added that they were also training workers on prompt data entry and reporting, procurement of drugs and consumables and establishment of linkages with secondary health facilities for culturing of samples.
culled from Daily Trust