Mandate Health Empowerment Initiative (MHEI), a Non-Governmental Organisation, has expressed concern over a new mental health disorder, caused by a viral infection, currently affecting some children in Borno.
Mr Ameh Zion, the MHEI President, was speaking on the aftermath of the organisation’s visit to some IDP camps in Borno state to provide mental health and psycho social support to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
He said the condition was a neurological dysfunction, caused by a viral infection, which affected children particularly.
According to him, this virus distorts the total senses of the children, beginning from their sight.
“They cannot have a balanced and focused sight and they also cannot think or communicate properly,’’ Zion said.
He said children affected by this virus would appear malnourished.
Although, the organisation has identified only a few cases, he said, more could still be found if investigations were done.
“We cannot categorically say where this virus came from; whether it is genetic or caused by exposure to trauma or due to a continuous abuse of substances or sexual molestation. We can only be certain of the cause when these children are properly examined by professional neurologists. It is then we can know the kind of treatment to offer. Our greatest concern is that we do not yet have the expertise in Nigeria to handle this kind of condition. We were able to identify two cases in one of the hospitals in Molai, Maiduguri and this is just one location in a ward in the state. These children were under 10 years,’’ Zion laments.
He said the organisation identified other mental health conditions in Bolumkutu rehabilitation centre such as depression and psychosis.
He added that the NGO was able to provide some supports to these individuals.