Declare Monkeypox a medical emergency, Envision tells FG  

  • it’s not  in Abuja – Official

  • FG yet to confirm real nature of disease

A humanitarian organization, Envision Global Care Foundation, has urged the Federal Government to declare rapidly-spreading deadly virus, Monkeypox, a medical emergency.

The foundation also said government should pay full attention to the disease by providing both human and financial resources to contain its spread.

In a statement signed by its Program Director, Diana Eyo-Enotte, Envision called on all institutions working to contain the scourge to redouble efforts and bring its spread to a halt.

The non-governmental organization attributed continued spread of the virus to poor living condition of majority of people in the country.

It expressed concerns that the less privileged group in the country are more vulnerable to disease outbreaks due to their poor living condition, access to good medical care and other environmental hazards.

The NGO commended the efforts of the Federal Ministry of Health through the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to contain the disease.

President of the organization, Mr Jerry Ikogho, said in the release that the country had reached a stage where vaccines needed for prevention and drugs for treatment of such disease should be readily available and distributed.

Recall that Federal Government said shortly after the disease surfaced in Bayelsa State recently that there was no vaccine to protect against it. This is even as the government is yet to confirm the nature of the disease, as confirmed by Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, while speaking with State House correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday.

He said results of samples of blood of persons affected by the disease taken to World Health Organization’s laboratory in Dakar, Senegal, were not yet ready. Adewole told reporters that results of such samples should be ready within 48 hours.

Envision urged the NCDC to be more proactive towards prevention by increasing awareness on the disease at rural communities as well as internally displaced person’s camps.

Its president, Ikogbo, was quoted as saying in the release: “We are happy that the NCDC is coordinating investigation and response across the affected states through active case finding, epidemiological investigation and contact tracing. However we should see it that the swift spread of the virus to seven states in less than a month means that Nigerians are not properly educated about the virus and how it spreads, most of which are due to body contact attributed to environmental and poor living condition of the people.

“At this point, Monkey pox should be declared a serious medical emergency and the government must pay full attention to it by providing both human and financial resources to contain its spread” she added

“Envision believes that the Nigerian government could do better if it truly pays attention to the health needs of the poor by making access to medical care easier, cheaper and better.”

States where the disease has been recorded are Bayelsa, Rivers, Ekiti, Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Ogun and Cross River.

Monkey pox is a rare viral zoonotic disease with symptoms in humans similar to those seen in smallpox patients, but much less severe and with a low fatality rate, said Chief Executive Officer NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, in a release.

Transmission is via contact with infected animal, human, or contaminated materials. Animal-to-human transmission occurs through bite or scratch from animals and bush meat preparation. It can also be transmitted from one person to another. Human-to-human transmission occurs through respiratory droplets, contact with infected persons or contaminated materials. Control measures include isolation of suspected or confirmed cases, strict adherence to universal precautions, especially frequent hand-washing with soap and water, and use of personal protective equipment, Ihekweazu added.

According to him, signs and symptoms include fever, headache, body pain, malaise, lymphadenopathy (enlargement of glands), sore throat, the characteristic generalized vesicular rash. The rashes might last between two to four weeks. Monkey pox is self-limiting, which means patients tend to recover with time. However, supportive care and management of condition is required and mostly successful.

He went on: “The symptoms include headache, fever, back pains and in advanced cases, rashes bigger than those caused by chicken pox. Anyone with symptoms of monkey pox should immediately report to the nearest health facility, while health workers are advised to maintain a high index of suspicion and observe safety percussion.”

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