Residents of Otodo-Gbame Community in
Ikate, Lekki, Lagos State, are battling to save
their children from a vaccine preventable
disease which has claimed the lives of no
fewer than 25 children in the area.
Punch Metro learnt that the yet-to-be-
identified disease, which started in January
2016, has brought panic to the
predominantly Egun community, as the
affected children developed rashes similar
to measles, and usually died two to three
Punch correspondent gathered that some
families, most of whom work as fishermen
and fish sellers, lost two to three children
each while the disease ravaged the area in
January and first week of February.
When Punch Metro visited the area on
Monday, it was learnt that health workers
from the Eti-Osa Local Government Area
had visited the community last
and had started immunisation for children.
Punch correspondent learnt that two
children, however, died in the presence of
the health workers while the immunisation
was being administered.
Speaking with Punch Metro, a woman, Anago
Benedict, who lost three of her children to
the disease, and gave their names as Taiye,
Kehinde and Jisine, said apart from the
rashes on their bodies, they also vomited
blood before they died.
She said, “My children fell sick in the first
week of February. The disease is ravaging
our area, and we did not have anyone to
“My children were killed by the disease.
They were vomiting blood. I did not know
what name to call the disease.”
Another woman, Stella Paul, who is the
mother of one of the two children that died
on Wednesday, said the girl was ill for only
She said, “Her name was Esther. She was
two years old. She died on Wednesday in
the presence of the health workers. She was
sick for only two days. I have three children.
Esther was the youngest. Emmanuel is the
Another resident, Atuku Daddy, who lost his
niece, Kehinde Petito, urged the government
to provide health care facilities in the
community, as they lacked any government
He said, “The girl was two years old. She
died on February 8. She was ill for just
three days, and she was rushed to the
hospital, where she died.
“In the night, she could not sleep. Some of
the symptoms we saw were swollen private
parts and high temperature. We call it Ina
oru. In the afternoon, she would play, but in
the evening, her body would become hot.
“I work as a fisherman, and I was born in
this community. Nothing of such had
happened in our area before now. Our
grandfathers usually told us that there had
not been any epidemic. But since January,
many children had died in our area from
“A family lost up to three children to the
disease. That is why we appeal to the state
government to give us a hospital. Since the
immunisation started last Wednesday, the
rate of contracting the disease is getting
Kehinde’s grandmother, Bose Petito, who
works as a cleaner in a private school in
Lekki Phase 1, said, “I have taken her twin
brother for vaccination. They also gave him
drugs to use. The signs of the disease are on
him too, but they are not serious. It was sad
to lose her, but we are fine now. The mother
has gone to work.”
Punch correspondent also observed the
rashes on Taiye’s legs and stomach during
A resident, who identified himself only as
Jonathan, said the health workers collected
the water and food samples of the residents
to find out the cause of the disease.
Jonathan added that residents had raised
the alarm since January, but help did not
come on time.
He said, “Between January and February
2016, we had deaths of many children. They
would have a brief illness and they would
“So far in February, we have had about 20
children who died. When the health
workers came, they took our water and food
samples to the laboratory for tests, but I do
not know what they found out.
“We raised the alarm when these deaths
started, but no one came to our rescue.
Since Wednesday, people have been turning
out for the immunisation.”
However, the state Ministry of Health said it
had sent epidemiologists to the community
to verify the outbreak.
The ministry’s spokesperson, Mrs. Adeola
Salako, said the blood samples and other
body fluids of children with suspected cases
had been collected for examination.
She said, “An epidemiological investigation,
led by the state epidemiologists from the
Ministry of Health, commenced on
Wesdnesday, February 10.
‘The investigation is meant to verify the
assertions and the cause of deaths through
laboratory investigation of water, throat
swabs and blood samples of children with
suspected cases and to proffer solutions.
“It is worthy of note that no further death
has been recorded since then.”