Toddler left ‘immobile’ after immunisation – The Namibian

A MONTH after giving birth in 2019, Nanvula Sinengela (25) took her son for his six-week immunisation against diphteria, tetanus and hepatitis B, among others, at Mavuluma Clinic at Katima Mulilo.

Following this, the boy gradually became more and more immobile – with no apparent explanation, she says. Ayden Tendekule (3) was born on 19 November 2019 at Katima Mulilo State Hospital, weighing 3,2kg. Sinengela says after coming home from the clinic where her son was innoculated, she noticed swelling at the injection site. She thought it would subside after a few days.

“The swelling did not go away as I thought, and it seemed painful whenever he moved around. After a month, I took him to the clinic again for his 10-week injection.

“However, the nurse told me he could not get an injection because he had a fever. She referred us to the Katima Mulilo District Hospital,” Sinengela says. A doctor at the hospital then recommended that X-rays be done on Ayden, she says.

“The X-rays showed that when the nurse injected him for the one-month immunisation, the needle reached the bone, causing it to crack a bit.

“The doctor told me it would heal on its own, but it did not. After some time, we went back to the hospital, because the left side of his body started getting stiff, and he couldn’t move properly,” she says.

Sinengela says Ayden was then admitted to hospital and given paracetamol. She says he was discharged without receiving a diagnosis.

“My son’s condition was getting worse, as he developed a sore discharging yellow fluid non-stop until today on his left thigh where he was injected.

“I went back again, and they admitted him again. The doctor took several blood samples to see what was wrong, but they just discharged him again without telling me what was wrong,” she says.

Sinengela says Ayden eventually lost mobility of the right side of his body as well, and developed a rash.

Minister of health and social services Kalumbi Shangula, when approached for comment last week, said he would request that the matter be investigated.

He said in his 40 years as a medical doctor he has never come across such a case. “Children’s needles are small and short, but investigations can reveal what happened,” he said.

Health ministry spokesperson Walter Kamaya said if Sinengela feels the nurse’s negligence caused her son’s condition, she should write an official letter of complaint to the regional health director, who will take the matter further. “We will then launch an investigation into the matter,” he said. Sinengela says her son is in constant pain.

“He cannot hold anything with his hands. At night you have to wake him up and turn him around because he cannot do that,” she says.

Sinengela says she has been back to the Katima Mulilo District Hospital several times, only to be referred to Windhoek to see a specialist, where she says doctors are claiming there is nothing wrong with Ayden.

“Even I, as an unqualified person, can see my son is not fine. He’s losing weight,” she says.

Sinengela is pleading for a medical professional to come to her son’s rescue.

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