NA JI LABAI DAGA MECCA (I Heard the News in Mecca)

NA JI LABAI DAGA MECCA (I Heard the News in Mecca)

by Sr. Chris Gill MMM                                    Ireland                         28.06.2024

It was late evening when Mohammed Ibrahim arrived at the clinic in Fuka, northern Nigeria.  He looked tired and weary after the long journey and had a bad cough for a long duration.  Hannatu, our evening nurse, welcomed him and gave him an appointment for laboratory tests.  She admitted him into the Tuberculosis Unit and from the nearby “take-away” got him some food.  He was glad to have a bed and he enjoyed the company of other patients in the Unit, some of whom were Fulanis, his own ethnic group.

While taking his clinical history, I was amazed to discover that he was from Sokoto State, close to the Niger Republic border. I asked Mohammed how he had heard of our little clinic. He said: “I heard the news in Mecca.” He told me that when he was on pilgrimage in Mecca, performing the Hajj, his cough became very distressing. A Good Samaritan came to his aid with water and a seat to sit on. In the course of conversation, Mohammed told him how he had had the cough for years, has been to clinics and hospitals, but to no avail. The cough remained and grew worse.

His new-found friend told him that he too had had a cough like his but had been cured in Fuka. Mohammed immediately asked him if Fuka was in Nigeria; his friend nodded and gave him directions to the clinic.

As expected, Mohammed tested positive for pulmonary tuberculosis. He was emaciated and anaemic from many years of coughing blood. He was placed on an intensive course of anti-tuberculosis treatment for two months. These drugs are supplied free by the Niger State, in collaboration with the World Health Organisation.

Mohammed’s health began to improve after his other ailments, such as malaria and typhoid, were treated. When he was admitted he weighed just 45 kilos, and he was a very tall man! He stayed with us for two months and has made remarkable progress. Since that time his entire family has come for tests and been given appropriate treatment.

Other people from his area have also come for treatment, so Mohammed is one of our “Goodwill Ambassadors”!