By Choul Babur
A child appears one morning in Gambela City to suffer from minor fever and the child mother chose to take her child to a doctor in Gambela Hospital to seek treatment. Because there are no advanced medical equipments for checkups in Gambela Hospital as usually the case in Gambela region, the doctor conducted regular oral assessment to determine what was making the child ill. Based on the doctor conclusion from that oral assessment, the doctor recommended some immunization and addition needle ejections for treatment which the child mother administered.
In the very first needle injection, which the nurse administered for her, the child became nausea and continued to persistent sleepless on their way home from the hospital. Throughout that night and in the next morning, the child continued to relentless blood vomiting and eventually the child lost her live. While the mother watching the nurse administered the ejection the doctor prescribed for her child, she noted that her child’s body temperature dramatically increased and the whole condition unexpectedly deteriorated from receiving the injection.
Family members of the child mother residing in the United States I spoke with to see if the child had a prior illness say they have no prior knowledge of child health problems. Had they have a prior knowledge of child illness, they have send monetary and have the child come to the Addis Ababa, where many Gambelans have turned to for treatment in the last few years for the obvious fear that people who have gone to Gambela Hospital end up in the next day dead mysteriously.
Historically, many similar mysterious deaths of Gambelan patients who had sought medical treatment from the Gambela Hospital, Ethiopian highlander doctors, who controlled the Gambela Hospital, have blamed their deaths on either malaria outbreaks or meningitis. Yet, the malaria outbreaks usually do not only occur in Gambela City only, but covered the entire region which consists of nine Woredas (Counties): Abobo, Akobo, Dimma, Gambella, Godere, Gog, Itang, Jikaw, and Jor. Many residents and Gambelan medical experts/workers have been noting that often the number of deaths from malaria outbreaks in Gambela City is higher than compared with the number of deaths from other towns where malaria outbreaks equally took place despite the fact Gambela City has a hospital and all other towns do not have any.
Many analysts therefore, disturbed by these obvious disparities in the number of Gambelans who after they have gone to the Gambela Hospital and the number of who died from other Woredas, concluded that higher number of people who died after going to the Gambela Hospital is caused by practitioners there than actual illness. Theses analysts often pointed to two areas as the sources of deaths of people who sought treatment from Gambela Hospital. The first is that most of Ethiopian highlander doctors crowded Gambela Hospital often are recent graduates from other parts of Ethiopia, who for a better or worse, have never practiced medicine in before and new to the Gambela State. The second is that the Government of Ethiopia policy toward the Gambelan people is a suspect in itself, the analysts observed. Anuaks, the majority ethnic group, the Ethiopia’s government have been killing them or chasing out away from the region in the last nine months.
For privacy purposes, the child’s name, age, gender and name of family members remained anonymous.