That alert on monkey-pox disease
The prompt containment of a recent presence of monkey pox disease in a part of Lagos saved a situation that could have gone viral but for rapid response. Though the incident was minimal, many people could have been infected with the disease if the authorities had not rallied to promptly monitor and treat the victims before anything could go wrong.
But that is not to say that the government should now rest on its oars. As a matter of fact, it is a wake-up call on everyone – government and the populace – to be extra vigilant since we live in the hot wet tropical environment that is infested with myriad of diseases that could break out anytime. The public health officials should, therefore, be on alert, especially in this rainy season, to guard against the outbreak of deadly diseases. The health facilities should also be equipped with the right medication to handle any outbreak. We commend the Lagos State government for promptly containing the monkey-pox incident.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, had disclosed during the bio-security update meeting on the situation report on monkey pox disease in the state, that three suspected cases of the disease were reported by health facilities, which proved positive for monkey pox from laboratory investigation.He said the patients who were treated at the specialised infectious disease isolation centre of Mainland Hospital, Yaba, have since recovered and have been discharged.
Subsequently, the close contacts and family members of the cases were actively monitored for 21 days for any development of signs and symptoms of the monkey pox and none of them showed any symptoms.The commissioner called on the residents to remain calm, reassuring that there is no cause for panic. He stressed that the state government, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health, through the Centre for Disease Control, is maintaining surveillance in all the local government areas to prevent any disease outbreak.He noted that the state epidemiology and monkey pox focal persons from the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control had earlier carried out sensitisation for clinicians and community members in some local government areas of the state to increase awareness and reporting of any case.
Finally, he advised health workers to ensure that they take universal safety precautions when dealing with patients, stressing that appropriate personal protective clothing must be worn when attending to cases of infectious diseases.The commissioner advised that precaution should be taken when coming into contact with wildlife such as monkeys or rodents, especially, if such animal exhibits features of disease.
It is important to stress that personal and environmental hygiene are critical to healthy living. Personal cleanliness should be seen as a serious issue that should not be toyed with. The authorities should be more systematic and assertive in handling environmental sanitation matters in the state.No doubt, many people have not attained high level of personal hygiene and cleanliness. This reflects in the poor habit of the people.
Indiscriminate dumping of refuse in unauthorised places is rampant. The Lagos environment is filthy (despite the effort of government), and the unceasing heavy downpour has exposed the rot. A lot of people live in very unhygienic condition. There is inadequate provision of potable water; lack of adequate sanitation and hygiene that are critical to public health. These critical issues, which are supposed to be there for the people are lacking.
That common potable water, a basic necessity of life, is still lacking in 21st century Nigeria irrespective of the stupendous wealth the country has reaped from oil since independence is simply embarrassing. The issue of water is one thing that has defied solution over the decades. People suffer preventable debilitating diseases as a result.
Thousands are dying from other diseases associated with poor living condition. A healthy populace is an asset to the nation. Obviously, those who contract monkey pox are people who live in unhygienic environment. Earlier in the year, President Buhari declared a state of emergency on water supply but the impact is yet to be felt. The authorities should accord the issue of water provision the high priority it deserves in public interest.
Owing to the people’s low level of cleanliness, they have to be forced to comply otherwise they remain susceptible to diseases. This is unlike in the past when people were conscious of personal hygiene and environmental cleanliness and sanitary inspectors helped to enforce sanitation rules.Citizens should be sensitised to keep their surroundings clean. This culture should be inculcated into the young ones right from school. Making people imbibe the culture of sanitation and personal hygiene is a potent way to prevent the outbreak of diseases. The Lagos State Government should redouble its efforts in refuse collection and disposal as a way of combating disease outbreak in the state.
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