By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
An NGO, Hope for Village Child, has commenced a six months awareness campaign on rickets in Kaduna State, to sensitise communities on ways to prevent the disease.
Mr Michael Ogundele, Coordinator of the organization said at the commencement of the programme on Wednesday in Kaduna that they would collaborate with the media to drive the campaign.
“It is evident to all of us that the media has become an essential part of everyone’s life.
“The media plays a constructive role in today’s society – from increasing public awareness to collecting views, information, and shaping the people towards certain issue.
“We aim to make at least 50 per cent of risk groups knowledgeable on the signs and symptoms of rickets and ways of prevention.
“Presently, there’s a community called Kwaturu in Jaba Local Government with 173 infected cases of rickets.
“We have also discovered 27 victims in a community called Kasebo in Chikun LGA, where the victims are on drugs and some are waiting for surgery,” Ogundele said.
He said that the organisation had organised surgeries and placed other victims on calcium.
Ogundele advised parents to take their children for clinical investigation whenever they notice weakness or any deformity in the legs.
The coordinator also urged mothers to take healthy diet that includes adequate amount of calcium, phosphorous and vitamin D.
Dr Abdul Nasir, an Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgeon said rickets disease affects children aged between six to 36 months.
He said, “Children are at the highest risk of rickets because they’re still growing.
“Children might not get enough vitamin D if they live in a region with little sunlight, follow a vegetarian diet, or don’t drink milk products, but in some cases, the condition is hereditary.
“Rickets is a skeletal disorder that is caused by lack of vitamin D, calcium, or phosphate; these nutrients are important for the development of strong, healthy bones.
“People with rickets may have weak and soft bones, stunted growth, and, in severe cases, skeletal deformities.
“A vitamin D deficiency makes it difficult for your body to maintain sufficient levels of calcium and phosphate.
“When this occurs, your body produces hormones that cause calcium and phosphate to be released from your bones, and when your bones lack these minerals, they become weak and soft.’’
Nasir listed pain or tenderness in the bones of the arms, legs, pelvis, or spine stunted growth as symptoms of rickets.
He said that the condition results in short stature, bone fractures, muscle cramps, teeth and skeletal deformities, oddly shaped skull, bowlegs, bumps in the rib cage or protruding breast bone, curved spine or pelvic deformities.’’
“See a doctor right away if your child is showing signs of rickets.
“If the disorder isn’t treated during a child’s growth period, the child may end up with a very short stature as an adult, deformities can also become permanent if the disorder goes untreated.’’