By Obinna Ogbonnaya, Abakiliki
The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF yesterday said that with the two cases reported in Benue State yesterday, the number of cases so far recorded in Nigeria since the outbreak of the diseases now stands at 94 with only nine confirmed.
UNICEF Health Specialist, Dr Eghe Abe during a one day advocacy meeting with media executives in southern states on Monkey Pox held in Uyo Akwa Ibom State stated that though no death have been recorded, the virus is spreading which requires urgent attention.
Presenting a paper titled, “Understanding the Epidemiology of monkey pox viral disease”, Dr. Abe who debunked the rumour making the rounds that some military personals are vaccinating children with monkey pox vaccine said that the diseases do not have any treatment or vaccine adding that such rumours are misleading and must be ignored and discarded.
He maintained that so far, suspected cases of monkey pox are taken to Dakar in Senegal for confirmation noting that the absence of the confirmation centre in Nigeria resulted in the longer delay in confirming the cases in Bayalsa State.
He pointed out that monkey pox has the same resemblance with small pox but noted that monkey pox is not as deadly as the small pox that have been eliminated across the globe.
According to him, the mood of spread includes, direct blood contact with infected animal, eating poorly cooked meat of an infected animal, contact with infected person through cough or body fluid and using infected person’s cloths or other belongings and advocated for proper hand washing and personal hygiene.
He maintained that many states in the country because of the wide spread of the virus has created a centre where the suspected persons with the virus are isolated stressing the need for the people to report suspected cases to the relevant agencies.
Dr. Abe also stated that some of the symptoms include high fever, severe headache, then the pox which emanates in the face first before spreading to other parts of the body. He pointed out that after 21 days of the manifestation of the virus, it may not be possible to transmit the disease to other persons.
He also urged the people not to discriminate against people who were infected and treated as it may lead to suicide as witnessed in Beyalsa State where an infected person committed suicide.
In her paper presentation on the topic, “Communication products on Monkeypox: dissemination and use,” the UNICEF Communication Officer, Enugu Field Office, Mrs. Ijeoma Onuoha Ogwe said the objective of the meeting is to increase reportage of preventive messages and concise information on the monkey pox.
She encouraged journalists and media executives to create jingles and develop feature stories that would enlighten the people on dangers, symptoms and prevention of the monkey pox disease.
He maintained that in reporting cases of monkey pox, the child right act must be taken into consideration adding that UNICEF would continue to partner with the media.
A Child Right Advocate, Dr. Fustinus Nwachukwu insisted that journalists must hold government accountable believing that someday, they will meet up with the expectation of the people.
He called on journalist to protect the right of the children in reporting their stories adding that children who have gone through abuses must be protected to avoid societal discrimination.