Friday, April 17, 2015

Ondo Begins Spiritual Cleansing to Appease Gods For Epidemic - What Role Public Health?

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A community of Ondo state is reported to have today begun the process of cleansing their land in a bid to appease the gods over a plague believed to have been brought to them by some persons who desecrated and stole from their shrine. The deadly illness that hit the community has killed at least 14 people so far.

The Ondo state commissioner for Information had earlier announced that the illness and sudden death is connected to an exhumed corpse. That the people who've died so far were those who had contact with the people who exhumed the corpse. But some people believe it is more than simply possible contact with pathogens in a decomposing body.

These people have claimed that the strange ailment has some spiritual undertones, and is not really a medical epidemic. They say some people sold the deity/oracle/idol that is being worshipped in the town for a sum of N20million to some whites. After the deal was done, the Oracle started visiting those involved in the deal as well as the innocents that ignorantly spent out of the money.

An indigene of the community, who spoke with Dailypost, has now opened up that it was revealed to the traditional priest that Malokun goddess worshiped in the community has not been happy with the people. He alleged that Malokun goddes was angry at the desecration of its shrine, saying:

“Malokun goddess is angry with us and this has been revealed by our priests. We have begun the spiritual cleansing with all women in the town fetching a bucket of water each to pour at Malokun shrine”.

Meanwhile, the Ondo State Governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, has disclosed that the symptoms observed in Ode-Irele bear no resemblance to those associated with the Ebola Virus Disease or any known epidemic disease.

I have many questions, first of which is: what is the role of public health? Is there a public health guideline in the state which should govern the actions of the people in the community in the event of any outbreak? Where are the pathologists, is there someone researching the symptoms of this so-called unknown disease?

Most importantly, is it safe for these women to be pouring water at what could be the source of this outbreak? Are any of them already infected? Are they a risk to others?

So many questions! But I can only hope that this community's low tech way of handling this sorts out the current danger. I still wish scientists step in so we can figure out the ground zero and pathogen behind this incident and prevent future occurences.

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