THE Enugu State Ministry of Health and the Nigeria Army have dismissed speculations over a forceful vaccination of pupils in the State or in any part of the South East, in a bid to infect the children with monkey pox virus.
In a press conference Wednesday, the state commissioner for health, Dr. Fintan Ekochin called on
parents to return their wards to school.
He added, “nobody is going around doing any vaccination for monkey-pox, not even if people were willing let alone by force. There is no such activity going on in the South East. It is unfortunate people have panicked and this was reflected in the massive withdrawal of children from schools.”
The Deputy Director of Public Relations, 82 Division, Nigerian Army (NA), Colonel Musa Sagir described as mischievous
the allegations trending on the social media that the ongoing “free medical services giving to some communities in the South East was with a sinister motive of depopulating the region through the so called monkey pox vaccination purportedly being conducted by the NA
in the region.”
Ekochin assured that “there is absolutely nothing to worry about and if there should be, be rest assured that we will do everything possible to get everybody in the know.”
The commissioner noted that the only established case of Monkey-pox is in Bayelsa State so far. “Some states have reported suspect patients, cases they are investigating and until such cases confirm diagnosis, it remains unconfirmed and suspicion,” he said.
He admitted that “there is no vaccine anywhere in the world today for the treatment of monkey-pox, if there where, we would have done our best to make it available.”
Following the prevailing suspicion of the touted military medical outreach programme in the South East, the state commissioner for Information, Mr. Ogbuagu Anikwe explained that: “There is no such programme going on in Enugu.
In the case of Anambra State, it is restricted to one local government area and in one town, Ozubulu.
“That programme has however been stopped as there is a lot of misconception following it.”
According to Sagir, “the free medical outreach is not a vaccine intended to infect monkey pox or any major contemporary or emerging diseases in Nigeria to
the people of South East or any part of the country.
“The exercise is part of the corporate social responsibility initiatives imbued into the
overall Exercise EGWU EKE 11 package, to the people of the South East, which is the Area of Responsibility of the 82 Division NA and is also the
theatre of the exercise.”
In a Press Statement Sagir explained further that the free medical services in the region started on September 18, 2017 in Nkwaagu community of Abakaliki Local Government Area of Ebonyi State at an event witnessed by the Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State, and flagged off by the Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General TY Buratai.
Other areas where the programme was conducted were Ovim in Isiukwato Local Government Area of Abia State, Mbaise in Imo State, Oji River in Enugu and now Ozubulu in Anambra.
He stated: “In the mentioned areas, there has not been any recorded incident or complain of any kind arising from the noble humanitarian gesture of the NA.
“Hence, the wicked, ill-motivated rumours and lies is the handiwork of unpatriotic elements who can go
to any length to discredit the noble services of the NA in the region, which at the moment they will not succeed.”
He thanked the people of Ozubulu and all those “who turned out enmass to benefit from the Exercise. Also our appreciation to the Anambra State National Coordinator of Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme Dr Okafor.”