By Adeola Oladele, Ibadan
The University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan at the weekend announced full recovery of one of the five victims of Ode-Irele (Ondo State) alleged methanol poisoning from the consumption of a local gin.
The survivor, Mr .Olorunwa Jero, was said to have fully recovered.
The hospital’s Chief Medical Director(CMD), Professor Temitope Alonge, explained that three of the five victims brought to the hospital on April 18, 2015, had also regained their sight although they have not fully recovered, while one has still not recovered.
The CMD said the medical and laboratory team who attended to the victims carried out series of tests on them (the victims) as well as on the samples of the three drinks believed to have been consumed by them.
Professor Alonge, however, explained that the hospital and its team could only speak for the five victims on admission at the hospital, maintaining that their investigation and laboratory tests on them followed all due standards.
He said: “On 18th April 2015, the Canadian-trained Consultant Pathologist with the Ondo State Ministry of Health, Dr. Osasan, called to seek the assistance of the University College Hospital, Ibadan in the management of five patients who survived the Ode-Irele neurotoxicity saga but were completely blind”.
He said two teams of clinical pharmacologist and laboratory physicians and laboratory scientists worked tirelessly for almost two weeks to confirm the likely cause of the neurotoxicity exemplified by sudden blindness and correlate their findings with the toxicants in the blood, urine and the local gin samples.
“This is a display of the excellent working relationship between clinical medicine and laboratory medicine,” adding that local gin consumption is commonplace in Nigeria and that, that was one of the consequences apart from damage to other organs like the liver and the kidneys.
“We must all be careful in satisfying our cravings for these drinks,” Prof Alonge warned.
Prof. Segun Ademowo and two other health specialists, Prof Muyiwa Owolabi and Dr Olatoke Ayorinde, consultant opthomoloist, equally added that the tests revealed that there was heavy presence of toxicants inside the victims systems, adding that between 0.1% and 12.5% of methanol were found in the samples of the drinks. They did know how methanol got into the drinks.
The survivor, Mr. Olorunwa Jero, who later walked around unaided before journalists and others at the press briefing, said he was a vulcaniser while he equally sells ‘provision’ to take care of his family of six.
His words: “By the time I was brought here, I was blind. I could not identify my wife; I could not identify anything. I did not even know when I arrived here. But I thank God and the management and staff of UCH for bailing me out. I can see all of you here clearly; I can even identify the clothes each one of you is putting up”.
About a fortnight ago, Nigeria was shocked by alleged mysterious deaths of some indigenes of Ode-Irele. Elders and some residents of Ode-Irele had adduced the strange deaths to the wrath of a deity in the town called MALOKUN, whose artefacts were said to have been stolen, but the state and federal government officials after subjecting the victims to scientific tests came to say the deaths were due to the consumption of local gin said to have been contaminated.