One of my relatives visited a certain health facility in Temeke recently after suffering from what we believed was a bout of malaria. She was attended to and the medical practitioner at the facility prescribed some medicines after confirming that she had five malaria parasites.
Besides Metalkelfin, the practitioner added other medicines which I don't remember their names because it was my first time to see such drugs. We gave the drugs the benefit of the doubt and let the girl use the drugs but to our shock, she became worse every time she used those drugs. And, as her condition deteriorated, we decided to take her to another hospital, where medical practitioners there ran some tests and discovered that besides Malaria, she had UTI.
The doctor who examined her was also surprised to see the kind of pills she was using. The doctor confessed to us that it was her first time to see such drugs. She, however, advised us not to receive any drugs we are not sure of and we had the right to information on these drugs. She told us that these drugs might be counterfeits smuggled into the country and sold to people at bogus health centres.
From that day, I advised my relative not to visit bogus health centres and shun such facilities strewn all over the neighbourhood. And, it immediately dawned in me that Temeke was getting into the headlines for the wrong reasons. The latest one being the stampede during a disco where two innocent children lost their lives.
What is disturbing more is the fact that it is hardly three weeks after this happened but it seems as if the dust has settled and everything is back to normal. Each and everyone is going about his or her business and the hullabaloo and the noise made by many people after the incident seemed to be more of a formality than genuine concerns.
Everybody seems to have folded his or her arms as if waiting for another tragedy to hit us again. To make matters worse, it's not the first time such a tragedy has claimed innocent lives. 19 children perished in Tabora last year almost in similar circumstances. And, recently, history repeated itself with two children dying in a stampede at a pub as about 100 children tried to force their way out of the disco hall following a sudden power failure.
Thirteen of the children aged between six and 17 were injured, six of them seriously and were admitted to Temeke District Hospital. What is irking, however, is the fact that government has reiterated that discos are here to stay. The government said it will not ban disco for kids during festivals because doing so will be denying their rights.
The Deputy Minister for Community Development, Gender and Children, Dr Lucy Nkya, directed relevant organs to ensure enforcement of existing safety rules and regulations to protect children. She said imposing a total ban on disco for kids was not a solution because children had the right to associate and partying.
I beg to differ with the minister's views over this issue. Firstly it is evident that ensuring effective enforcement of laws that guide the staging of such events is something that is far from being achieved. This incident is happening not for the first time but second time or so, while no preventative measures have been taken so far.
There is no evidence that deterrent action was taken against those who perpetrated the previous incident. The laxity of those who are supposed to enforce the rules and making sure that such incidents don't occur again is worrying to say the least.
It is against this background that banning the whole thing is the right choice because as it is, the blame game will be the norm every time such disasters happen. But, this won't help as our children are the ones who are sacrificed.
The minister said that banning these events is tantamount to denying children their rights. So is our learned doctor saying that if we see our children playing with fire we let them continue since barring them will be infringing their rights? Should we continue to put our children's lives in danger because we want to safeguard their rights? For sure, discos are not the only way for children to interact and entertain themselves. We have various other ways our children can socialise besides attending these discos.
Even the Bible instructs us as parents to discipline our children. It tells that if we spare the rod, we spoil the child. This then means that we need to stamp our authority when it comes to our children. I know the issue of caning children especially by teachers in schools has for many societies been a thorn in the flesh. Those advocating children's rights think that beating a child is the same as violating their rights, but what harm will a stick have if it is going to help remove deviance from a child's head.
I know there are other parents and teachers who overdo it and end up harming or even killing the children but light punishment can't be considered as violation of children's rights.
I believe children's rights are those that don’t endanger their lives. Banning this problem is the only solution to avert more disasters. History has proved that we are not in a position to regulate and monitor these moral-eroding gatherings where our children are exposed to morally corrupt acts that leave them changed for the worst.
Parents on the other hand are to blame. I always wondered how a parent with five senses, all functioning well, could let his or her children attend such events unsupervised. Children are a gift from God, that is why we don't have the power to have them. If we had the power to make babies, then we wouldn't be having the problem of sterility in the world.
As custodians of these innocent souls, it is our duty to safeguard their lives by not allowing them to attend such gatherings. The holy book also instructs us to train our children in a manner that they should go so that when they become old, they won't depart from it. I couldn't help but ponder on what we will be trying to impart into our children by sending them to these Sodom and Gomorrahs operated by unscrupulous business people who are there to maximise profits.
We have no one to blame but ourselves for the problem of the increase in deviance especially in our children, who in most cases grow to become wild beasts. Let's act responsibly and the government should help us doing so by banning these discotheques.
If the responsible authorities continue showing us(as they have done) that they cannot protect our children, then it is our duty to save ourselves from agony by not letting these young ones attend such events. Remember, it is your duty to protect your own child. If you can't protect your own child, then how will you expect someone to do it for you? God bless you.