By Daniel Ayantoye
Following the outbreak of Monkey Pox in some parts of the country, the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) has called on the Federal Government to put in more effort in curtailing the ailment like it was done during the outbreak of Ebola in the country.
Monkey pox, a zoonotic infection resurfaced in the country penultimate week and has since spread to seven states.
The infection which is a relatively rare disease had previously been reported in Nigeria in the 1970s.
Though there are no death record from the disease 13 persons were infected in Bayelsa State where the renewed outbreak was first discovered.
Speaking in a phone chat with Pilot Health, the National Secretary, Mrs. Florence Ekpebor, who described the outbreak as an epidemic capable of negatively affecting human existence if not curtailed, called for prompt attention from government on the issue.
“Recall that when Ebola was discovered there was no known vaccine, but we were able to tackle it, so similar efforts need to be put in place.
“As far as I am concerned, it is just speculation that the ailment is from monkey, my question is, who has tested monkey and certified that the ailment is from monkey and I don’t want to join issues with people that said some people were injected with the virus,” she said.
Ekpebor, however, maintained that keeping proper hygiene and avoiding body contact with infected people would go a long way reducing the spread of the ailment.
She called on government at all levels to put everything in place to ensure adequate awareness for people to know how to prevent themselves from getting infected.
“Maintain good hygiene, avoid hand shake, body contact and be very careful and the ultimate is maintaining our hygiene,” she advised.
On the strike embarked upon by the union, Ekpebor said JOHESU suspended the industrial action for five weeks pending response from the Federal Government on their demands.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has urged Nigerians to remain calm as it is working aggressively to control Monkeypox outbreak in Bayelsa state.
Chief Executive Officer of NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, told newsmen on Saturday in Abuja that the centre was taking steps to manage the cases and prevent further spread of the disease.
According to him a Rapid Response Team (RRT) from NCDC has been deployed to support the Bayelsa State Government in the investigations and public health response.
He said that 13 cases were reported, most of them have been discharged but four are still receiving treatment but all of them are doing well and no death reported.
He said that if cases are detected early and well managed the chances are that they will survive.
He therefore assured Nigerians that the NCDC was in control of the situation and was working aggressively to combat it’s further spread.