VACCINE to help fight the outbreak of monkeypox virus is not available in Nigeria.
This was disclosed on Thursday, in Abuja, by the national coordinator, Nigeria Centre for Diseases Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihewkwazu.
Speaking when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Primary Health Care and Communicable Disease, he said government had sent samples of suspected cases to Dakar, Senegal, to confirm their status, adding that “we are not sure of the actual disease.”
He said monkeypox virus was a rare disease and the only laboratory that could diagnose the disease was in Redeemer University, owned by the Redeemed Christian Church of God.
According to him, “we don’t have laboratory to diagnose monkeypox in Nigeria. The only one in the country is owned by Redeemer University. We have sent samples to Dakar in Senegal to confirm the disease.”
He revealed that the origin of the disease was from animal, adding that cases already reported were isolated from others.
He said the agency was working to curb its spread, adding, however, that as it was, there was still no vaccine for it.
Angered by the development, chairman of the committee, Senator Mao Ohaubunwa, described the situation as national embarrassment, while he wondered how a country like Nigeria would not have a laboratory that could diagnose the disease.
He said it was a national embarrassment that the country could not determine whether it was chickenpox or monkeypox but lamented that the agency was not even sure when the samples sent to Senegal was going to arrive in the country.
Meanwhile, the Oyo State Commissioner for Health, Dr Azeez Adeduntan, has said no reported case of monkeypox in the state, adding that disease surveillance officers were on active search for any index case.
Speaking with the Nigerian Tribune, against the backdrop of the spread of the disease to some neigbouring states, Adeduntan said the state had a dedicated ward at the State Hospital, Ring Road, Ibadan, as part of preventive measures.
“There is no active case of monkeypox in Oyo as of this minute. Our disease surveillance officers are on active search for index cases.
“Again, no reported case as of now,” he said.
In the same vein, the state House of Assembly had, at Thursday’s plenary, urged the Ministry of Health to lead sensitisation campaigns on monkeypox.
The charge followed a matter of urgent public importance by the chairman, Committee on Judiciary and Justice, Honourable Olukayode Akande.
In his contribution, minority leader, Honourable Olagunju Ojo, said the sensitisation should be taken to schools, especially in rural areas.
The assembly also summoned the commissioner, to ascertain the level of preparedness of the state against the outbreak of the disease.
Speaker of the assembly, Honourable Micheal Adeyemo also urged residents of the state to pay special attention to their personal hygiene, to avert outbreak of the disease
Also, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) allayed the fear of the residents over the alleged outbreak of monkeypox in the territory
Secretary, Health and Human Services of the FCTA, Mrs Amanda Pam, who addressed newsmen in Abuja, said seven suspected cases of such had been recorded in the FCT with samples of six victims taken and sent to Senegal for test and confirmation, after the results of FCT Public Health Laboratory in Gaduwa, who dismissed the claims.
“Although two suspected cases of monkeypox were reported on Wednesday, the Department of Public Health swung into action and investigated the cases and concluded that there were no
symptoms and sign of monkeypox in FCT.
“So far, seven reported cases of monkeypox have been recorded in the FCT; three in National Hospital, two from the Gwarimpa General Hospital, one from the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, as well as Gwagwalada and one from the Nyanya General Hospital.
“Out of this number, four were males and three were females. Samples were collected from six of the cases and sent to the Public Health Reference Laboratory in Senegal for confirmation.
“In view of the above, so far, there is no confirmed case of monkeypox in FCT,” she said.