By Ismaila Chafe
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has confirmed that 33 suspected cases of Monkey pox had so far been recorded in seven states of the federation.
Adewole made this known to State House correspondents after the meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, in the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday.
He disclosed that the outbreak of the disease was reported in Bayelsa, Rivers, Ekiti, Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Ogun and Cross River states.
“What is particularly significant is that many of the cases so reported do not fit into the classic prototype of monkey pox but we are trying to confirm.
“Before the end of today or early tomorrow we should be able to confirm exactly what we are dealing with, is it truly monkey pox.
“But what is obvious is that we have a disease that is close to the pox family.
“One of our scientists, Prof. Christian Appeh, is looking into it in the laboratory to confirm if it is truly monkey pox; we are also doing a double confirmation in Senegal because Senegal also has a public health lab that could make diagnosis.
“We are looking at the two and hopefully in the next 24 or 48 hours we should be able to make a diagnosis as to what we have.’’
According to the minister, there are two types of Monkey pox – the Central African type and the West African type.
He said, the disease if confirmed, might be the West African type “which is milder because so far we have not recorded any death from monkey pox’’.
Adewole, therefore, advised Nigerians not to panic as the disease was under control, adding that they should always report all suspected cases to health facilities.
He also enjoined citizens to continue to maintain a high level of hygiene.
He said: “Let’s wash our hands, let’s avoid contact with dead animals, clean our surroundings and as much as possible for health workers to maintain barrier nursing while managing people with suspected cases of monkey pox.’’
The minister revealed that the federal government would look into the Yayale Ahmed’s Report on health sector.
He said that already the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation had been mandated to forward the white paper on the Report to the Council with a view to restore harmony in the health sector.
Yayale Ahmed’s Report was the report of the Presidential Committee of Experts on Inter-Professional Relationship in the Public Health Sector to end “unhealthy rivalries’’ among healthcare professionals.
The report was submitted to the defunct administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Jonathan believed that the implementation of the committee’s accepted recommendations will help to end unhealthy rivalries and incessant strikes in the public health sector, which, he noted had unfortunately created an atmosphere of uncertainty in the sector.
The former president said: “I had to set up the committee because I am very sad, and I know most Nigerians feel very sad that strikes and unhealthy rivalries among professionals in the health sector have adversely affected medical services.’’
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, said his ministry was fishing out industrial unions that did not have prescribed time limit for their elected officers.
“Council looked at another recommendation in terms of people who are permanently doing union activities, they are presidents of trade unions for life and they sit tight, criticise those who are trying to do third term or fourth term while they themselves are sitting tight.
“It was agreed that my ministry should continue with our work in terms of fishing out the unions that don’t have constitutions that prescribed time limit for their elected officers.
“Such unions should be made to comply with the law, so that people can be elected, they serve out their term and other people will take their place.
“That is democracy in action.’’
Ngige added that government was also considering enforcing the “no-work, no-pay’’ rule to contain strikes.