ONGWEDIVA - A 10-year-old boy is reported to have fallen ill and subsequently died at the Onandjokwe Intermediate Hospital on Wednesday, after he was allegedly given deworming tablets at school a week ago by health personnel.
The boy was helplessly admitted at the Onandjokwe’s Intensive Care Unit since last week Thursday.
He was reportedly not moving or talking since his admission.
According to his mother, the boy started feeling sick on the day the deworming tablets were administered.
“When he came home from school, he told me that they were given tablets at school and since then he has not been feeling well,” his mother Selma Niitembu narrated.
She said later that evening, his situation deteriorated and around 21h00 he became very weak.
“Two hours later, he stopped talking. I started to look for transport to get him to the hospital, but we only managed to get assistance in the wee hours of Thursday,” said the distraught Niitembu.
She said when they arrived at the hospital, he was still moving, but stopped moving shortly thereafter.
The mother said the doctor attending to her son informed her that the boy has worms in the head and as such they were triggered by the tablets administered on him, hence his condition.
The mother said the child has a history of headache and as such should not have been given the said tablets as per the information she gathered while at the hospital.
The mother is infuriated that health personnel administer medicine on minors without informing parents or guardians.
“I was not aware of the health team visit, nor were we informed to send our children with their health passports. Are nurses not supposed to see what other conditions someone has before they can give them medicine?” queried the mother.
Apart from her son, Niitembu said there was another child admitted at Onandjokwe who fell ill in the same manner, but has since been discharged.
The director of health in Ohangwena Region John Hango confirmed that there was a deworming campaign going on at schools in the region from May 20 until June 4.
He further confirmed there are learners from various schools who experienced minor side effects such as nausea, dizziness headache, cramps and abdominal colic.
“Though there are these few children who reacted negatively to the medicine, the benefits of Praziquantel outweigh by far these self-limiting siting side effects.”
He said many children who developed these symptoms were given panado by the campaign team and they got better.
The same campaign took place in Otjozondjupa, Omusati, Zambezi, Kavango East and West.
It targeted children above the age of five with the prime aim to reduce worm infestation among children and to treat Schistosomiasis (Bilharzia) among school going age group.
The Director of Education in Ohangwena Region Isak Hamatwi said the region is aware of the situation.
“But we are not medical people hence we do not know what caused the illness,” Hamatwi