Drinking themselves full of diseases

.Investigation reveals FCT community’s water
.source has 6,000 bacteria colonies per litre

River Eku is the most reliable water source in Paikon Kore. The women and children who visit it are unwittingly exposed to the third deadliest disease in the world as the river is home to 6,000 bacteria colonies per litre of water. The river also contains faecal matter and other waste but in this FCT community, it is the only source of life laden with instruments of

Jummai Iliya, 26, was with her two daughters at the bank of River Eku doing laundry and washing utensils, after which they would take a bath in the river. Further down, her five-year-old son, Majid, was splashing in the river and drinking the water. What Majid did not know was that a few meters away, a woman was squatting in the river to defecate, lumps of excreta carried downstream towards him.

“Majid, you will eat shit! Get out quickly,” one of his sisters cried.

Majid might have escaped this woman’s shit, but there is no telling how much more he had already ingested. In reality there is hardly any escape for Majid and the 10, 000 other people of Paikon Kore, in Gwagwalada Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory who rely on River Eku as the only water source in the community.
“I don’t know how we would have managed in this community but for this river,” Jummai, said. “We have boreholes in Paikon, but only one is reliable and even that one is pumped only once a day, at the most twice.”

While they count and enjoy the blessings of the river, they are oblivious to the dangers they are exposed to through frequent contact with it.

Layered within this river are health threats, some of which are bloody diarrhoea, intestinal cramps, acidosis, malaria and the deadly neglected tropical disease – schistosomiasis – the third deadliest tropical disease behind only malaria and intestinal helminthiasis. Schistosomiasis is a major source of morbidity and mortality for countries in Africa.

River Eku, alluringly dangerous

Brownish green, River Eku sluggishly flows past Paikon Kore to four other communities, carrying cow dung and human waste, exuding a repulsive stench that visitors will find disturbing. But for the inhabitants, they are used to this, or perhaps because they have no other choice, they don’t mind as the women do their laundry and dishes in the river. Or as most of the adults said, “God is the one who protects.” Beside them, their children splash happily in the river. This is also the same water they drink and use for domestic purposes.
A cross-sectional study on 385 randomly selected participants from the community about their knowledge and practice towards Urinary Schistosomiasis was conducted by Rabi Adelaiye and Mustapha Jamda of the School of Medicine University of Abuja Teaching hospital.

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