Inside Kaduna’s ‘ orthopaedic’ clinic
In a part of Kaduna State there is a flourishing traditional clinic, where all forms of bone fractures and dislocations are healed. The clinic even receives referrals from modern hospitals.
Musa Timothy Yakubu, 24, woke-up early one morning trekking joyfully to GSS Kurdan in Zangon Kataf LGA of Kaduna State, where he runs a voluntary teaching programme. Suddenly, he found himself with a broken leg half way to the school premises.
His joy of being in the midst of secondary school students, who apparently spend periods without a class teacher, turned into tragedy when he was hit by a motorcyclist popularly called “Okada.”
He was taken to Kafanchan General Hospital for treatment. “I did not know what happened, but suddenly, my leg started to release an odour. I was advised by the nurses to be taken here for treatment, but for the past three months, my leg has slowly become normal,” Yakubu said.
“The accident happened in November last year while on my way to GSS Kurdan, Zangon Kataf LGA for a voluntary teaching, but I ended up in this village where many have also been trooping,” Yakubu said.
His tale pictured the agony of hundreds of people trooping to Twan, a village in Madakiya District in Zango Kataf LGA where a traditional orthopaedic clinic is thriving.
Located in an isolated village of about 30 houses, patients of the clinic are admitted in any of these houses for a long period, depending on when the dislocation or the broken part of the body is healed.
The long stay of patients in the mud houses used as wards, is making Twan a fast growing community in Kaduna, since the family of victims always relocate to the community for the period of the treatment.
The operator of the traditional orthopaedic clinic, Mr. Peter Zamani, it was observed, has to move round the wards in the scattered houses that host his patients every morning, afternoon and evening to do a sort of ward round. Some youth who get healed from similar problems are now working with him in the village.
“In my three to four months stay here, I’ve seen hundreds of people whose legs were broken for the second time and rejoined, because the first person they visited did not do the right thing. People that are lucky don’t stay up to a month but get healed. I have not seen anyone who returned to this village because of error. In my own case, I thank the Almighty because by leg is now receiving healing and is no longer smelling,” the volunteer teacher, Yakubu said.
Yakubu’s case is not different from that of Sergeant Istifanus Yahaya, who broke his leg while on his way to duty at the Godogodo Police outpost. The accident damaged the left side of the leg when he collided with a trailer that blocked the highway at night.
“The owner of the car took me to the hospital for treatment and later on, I was brought here. I said no they should take me to another place which I am aware of, but he insisted that the place he was taking me is better, and I
“ When he started, he was not only doing it here. Sometimes they call him from Kaduna town, Kagoro, Nasarawa, Jos, Keffi, Ungwar Rimi, Kachia and so many distant places.
can confirm that,” Istifanus said.
Istifanus said the reason he was still at the village was as a result of a mistake he made. “The mattress I bought was bigger and high in such a way that I was placing the leg down on the ground which affected the work. The place that broke could not accurately join, instead. They had to break it again and rejoined it after 45 days. That is why I am still here. Many have gone back to their houses,” he said.
But Sambo Joseph Yayok of Tum, in Kaura LGA was quite unlucky. Unlike others, he had an accident on 24 October, 2012 and four different places. He was earlier taken to St. Louis Hospital, Zonkwa, but was later referred to Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH) where an x-ray was carried out. His family took him to Twan in Madakiya, where the traditional orthopaedic staff attended to him and the four places were healed.
“I threw away the crutches. This year, again I fell to the ground while walking and broke one of the legs. He worked on it again, and I am now doing some exercises with the crutches. We are just praying that God should give Peter long life so that he will continue to help people,” Yayok said.
The encounter with the patients in Twan, presents a gloomy picture of health infrastructure deficit in Nigeria villages. Our reporter encountered Mrs. Talatu D. Bako, 43, a resident of Madauchi who had to relocate with her family to Twan for treatment of her leg, after she was hit by a car in Zonkwa.
Talatu, who now uses crutches to move around the community, having been taken there since October last year, said: “My leg was badly damaged and I spent some weeks at the general hospital, before I was transferred to this place, and I’ve been told that am going back home this month.”
One of the youths who now works with Peter Zamani, Darlington Bako said his leg was to be amputated, but someone in Kaduna metropolis took him to Twan for treatment.
“Look at me now; I am now walking having made several efforts, without results. In fact when we went to Kajuru, my leg tended to smell before I was brought here. I am now helping him to attend to some patients,” Darlington said.
The village head of the area, Alexander P. Bako said his younger brother; Peter Zamani inherited the talent to become a traditional orthopaedic expert.
“When he started, many people were asking can he do it. But from the myriad of people he has helped who are now moving around as normal human beings, one will urge the government to support him,” Bako said.
“ There was a pastor who said that ten different people have worked on his hand,and when he came here, he only
spent one month and left.
Bako recalled that he advised Peter Zamani to erect some structures in his house so as to accommodate patients, because frequent travelling posed ahuge hazard.
“When he started, he was not only doing it here. Sometimes they call him from Kaduna town, Kagoro, Nasarawa, Jos, Keffi, Ungwar Rimi, Kachia and so many distant places. I advised him that travelling to these villages and communities posed a very big risk. I said he should build some rooms so that instead of him travelling here and there, the patients will come,” he said.
“When he built some rooms, many people were coming, but his house could not accommodate them and the entire community resolved to house all his patients, and we are living peacefully,” the village head added.
The traditional ruler said hospitals now referred victims to the village whenever they go for a scan or X-ray.
Peter Zamani, the operator of the traditional orthopedic clinic was not opportune to acquire western education. He left the primary school at class three to take care of his father who was ill at a point.
As a result of the love his father had for him, he revealed some traditional medicine that will help him in life, including those he (the father) could not make use of.
In April 1997, Peter was in his farm when his aged mother visited with a bad news that his first daughter fell from a mango tree and broke her hand, with the bone exposed.
“I was confused but later summoned courage to meet my father who had shown me some trees for curing such problems. I’ve forgotten the name of the tree, I told my dad but he replied, ‘what if I’d died? Are you not taking my granddaughter to orthopaedic experts?’ I said, No dad, since you’ve shown me the medicine, the tree might help us in our house. My father, as sick and old as he then was, took me to the bush and showed me the tree again. I dug the root of the tree and diluted it with the cow oil as he commanded, and worked on my daughter’s hand. While I was doing it, all the women in our community came. They were crying that I want to destroy the future of a beautiful girl. But I told them they should not worry, the daughter is mine and I will always wish her good. After three weeks, I freed the rope, and the sticks I used in tying her hand. Today, the lady now lives in Minna, Niger State, and no one can say with his two eyes that she once had a broken hand,” Peter said.
He said the second incident was that of his younger brother’s son who broke one of his bones. “I worked on it and today, if he is running in a football pitch, you won’t know he has had an issue with his leg.
“Another child in our community went to school, and broke his two hands when he fell from the guava tree. He was taken to Matsirga and they worked on the two hands. As the hands were healing, they suddenly turned in the reverse direction, and the boy was brought here. I broke the two hands and rejoined them again. Today, the boy is a carpenter and he has put roofs on many houses in our community. If you see the boy, you won’t know that he has had a problem with his hands before. From there many started coming and there is no house in our community that I did not keep up to three or five patients, because the rooms I built in my house are still not enough to accommodate the patients. People are coming here because the Almighty is helping us to save lives,” Peter added.
“He has blessed me in such a way that any broken part of the body I set my eye on, I will know how to go about it. I cannot remember the number of people that have been healed here because every day, we are discharging people while others keep coming. If I wake up every morning, I will be attending to patients, and I can’t just tell you the number of people I discharge monthly, but they should be more than two hundred.
“We don’t have as many people now because we discharge many at the weekend and you have seen yourself, we have over 100 people still with us in the community and as you can see, this place is just like a market. If I had known you people are coming here, I would have sat down and done some calculations,” Peter said.
“People come from far distances with scanned pictures and X-rays of their body parts and when I asked them, some will say they have been directed from Hospitals. There was a pastor who said that ten different people have worked on his hand,and when he came here, he only spent one month and left. He called me recently to thank me for healing his hand. If someone goes for scanning in the general hospital, some nurses always advise them to come here. If they come newly, we don’t allow them to mingle with others until they are better. There are some people who come here when we stop them from eating some kind of food, they defy our order. People that stay with us here don’t have problem, but the ones that stay in their houses, some of them don’t obey and it took them time before they get healed.”
On why the people of his community always accept his patients into their houses without problems, Peter said: “I was born here and people respect me because I’ve not had unresolved issues with anybody. Since 1991, they wanted me to be a traditional ruler. In 2003 when I accepted, they made me the Mai-Ungwa. Some of the villagers always leave their houses for my patients to stay and in this community, we are one.
The sergeant in one of the wards.
Mr Peter Zamani attends to another patient.
Both the young and old visit the clinic.