Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya has received a report about the bizarre case of a three year- old boy who has been found with 36 needles embedded in his body. Dr Chilufya said in an interview that medical experts are investigating the matter and the nation will be informed in due course. “We have received the report about the three-year-old boy with needles in his body. Our experts are investigating the case and we will release a detailed report later,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chipata Central Hospital senior medical superintendent Mbinga Mbinga has described the condition of the toddler as stable. Dr Mbinga said an operation will be conducted as soon as the nutrition status of the severely malnourished boy improves.
He said Chipata Central Hospital has not recorded any such case before, the reason why it is following the matter with keen interest. And the boy’s teenage mother, Rosemary Jere, said she does not know how her son got pricked with the needles.
Rosemary is 19 years old and she dropped out of school in Grade Three. She was first married to the father of the boy, who divorced her in 2016 after which she got married again in 2017. Rosemary said the child has been complaining of stomach pains since last year.
This year, the boy was taken to Chipata Central Correctional (Namuseche) Clinic for a medical check-up and was later referred to Chipata Central Hospital. Rosemary said after thorough investigations, the boy was found with 36 needles in his body. And Rosemary’s father, Noah Jere, who was found by the hospital bed nursing his grandson, said it is strange that the boy has needles in the body.
Mr Jere is happy that by yesterday, his grandson was able to eat nshima and sit upright since he was hospitalised two weeks ago.
He said initially, there were plans to take the boy to witchdoctors for traditional medication but he was stopped from doing so by his daughter and sister-in-law.
Mr Jere complained that he was kept in the dark about his daughter being in a polygamous marriage. He said Rosemary was being kept by her mother, who allegedly arranged for a second marriage after charging his son-in-law K1, 500, out of which he only managed to pay K200.
Mr Jere suspects that his grandson is a victim of rituals because he finds it strange for a child to have needles in the body. He is hopeful that the doctors will conduct a successful operation at the right time. Meanwhile, Chief Madzimawe has described as peculiar the discovery of needles in the boy’s body and has urged police to speed up investigations into the matter.
Chief Madzimawe, who is a champion against gender-based violence, wondered how the needles found themselves in the boy without his body being pricked.
And a medical practitioner, Robert Zulu, says it is common for people to swallow objects like hair, nails and sometimes knives which are not supposed to be consumed, reports CAROLINE KALOMBE in Lusaka.
Dr Zulu, who is head of clinical care at the University Teaching Hospitals, said from a general perspective, the child can be said to be suffering from a mental illness, and it is important for such a child to be checked by a psychiatrist.
He said tradition and the community may regard this as a bizarre occurrence and request for exorcism as they could suspect the child is demon-possessed, which could not be the case.
Dr Zulu said the child admitted to Chipata Central Hospital needs sympathy and urged the medical team attending to him to ensure that he is well nourished before any procedure is done.
“The emphasis is to support the child and pray for his family, but ensure that he continues to seek medical attention,” he said.
Dr Zulu said mental problems can manifest in people of different ages but this does not mean that the child is suffering from that