There’s been a sudden public interest in the health of a 13-year-old boy who is addicted to inhaling fumes from vehicle exhaust pipes.
The boy, Fatawu Ibrahim, was born in the Zongo suburb of the Bolgatanga municipality and becomes excited when he inhales the fumes from vehicle exhaust pipes and inactive when he does not do so.
Members of the public who have watched this boy inhale fumes from vehicle exhaust pipes since he was five years are now worried over what could happen to the boy if he does not get any medical attention.
His condition, according to medical experts, can best be described as ‘inhalant abuse’ and can have serious health implication if not addressed over a period of time.
From afar, it looks as though he drinks the petrol, but people close to him say he inhales it to become active.
For many Ghanaians, the boy’s condition is a strange one, but available literature indicates that it is a common practice in many of the advanced countries where children within 10 and 18 age brackets and even some adults inhale any substance that has strong fumes, including thinner, petrol, perfumes and even stain removers.
This group of inhalant abusers were either deliberately or unconsciously introduced to these fumes and have fallen in love with such substances.
It is widely believed that the boy was unconsciously exposed to petrol and the fume from it at the age of five at his father’s mechanic shop not far from where the boy lived.
According to people who have known him all these years, he fell in love with the fume and colour of petrol and has since been inhaling from the floors of the shops, bottles, sachets and any container he can store petrol in.
Unfortunately, relatives of the boy do not see the need to take the boy for medical check-up and not consider getting him to be rehabilitated, probably because nothing serious has happened to the health of the boy.
People who try communicating with Fatawu Ibrahim say the boy’s mental capability is gradually retarding and needs attention in the area of mental healthcare. Neighbours think the boy’s condition is getting out of hand and needs to be helped out of his condition as soon as possible.
“I know the parents are doing their best to keep him away from petrol, but the boy’s addiction has made him so swift and so the least opportunity he gets, he sneaks out in search of petrol to inhale,” a worried neighbour said.
A senior psychiatry nurse in Bolgatanga, Philip Aboagye, in a brief interaction with the DAILY GUIDE, said the boy’s condition can be handled and get him to stop the practice.
According to him, Fatawu Ibrahim’s condition came to his attention, following a TV3 report done by Mohammed Tanko Rabiu, a member of the Mental Health Alliance.
“We are trying to get the family involved in the rehabilitation process; it is very possible to help this boy out of this condition,” he assured.
Source: Ebo Bruce-Quansah,Daily Guide
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