By Henry Umoru
The Senate Wednesday asked the Federal Ministry of Health, the National Arbovirus and Vector Research Centre (NAVRC) to as a matter of urgency, investigate the outbreak of a strange ailment suspected to be yellow fever in Epeilo-Otukpa and Itabono-Owukpa communities in Benue State that has claimed many lives.
The Senate has also called on the Federal Ministry of Health to urgently mobilize focal persons to the affected areas to complement the efforts of the Benue State Government in ascertaining the nature of the ailment.
The upper chamber also urged the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to promptly put up surveillance to contain the disease and see to the treatment of victims and protect others from further contacting it.
According to the Senate, NCDC and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) should synergize and support the people of Benue South Senatorial District and in particular the Epeilo-Otukpa and Itabono -Owukpa Communities, to treat, prevent and or reduce the number of cases and deaths.
According to the Senate, the Federal Ministry of Health should immediately activate and set up a multi-agency yellow fever emergency Operatives Centre (EOC) in Benue South, if the result should be positive for yellow fever.
Resolutions of the Senate yesterday were sequel to a motion entitled, ” Urgent need to deal with the outbreak of a strange ailment suspected to be Yellow Fever, ravaging Epeilo-Otukpa and Itahono-Owukpa communities in Ogbadibo Local Government Area of Benue State and sponsored by Senator Patrick Abba Moro, Benue South
“They should conduct mass vaccination and awareness campaigns in Benue South Senatorial District, being that yellow fever is a completely vaccine-preventable disease as a single shot of the yellow fever vaccine protects for a lifetime.”
Senator Moro in his motion had noted with grave pain the outbreak of a strange ailment said to be yellow fever in Epeilo-Otukpa and Itabono communities of Ogbadibo Local Government Area of Benue South.
Presenting the motion, Senator Moro said that the “Senate: Notes with grave pain the outbreak of a strange ailment said to be yellow fever in Epeilo-Otukpa and Itabono-Owukpa communities of Ogbadibo Local Government Area of Benue South Senatorial District, Benue State, Nigeria;
“Notes further that the strange ailment has not yet been effectively diagnosed by health authorities, even though, the Benue State Ministry of Health and Human Services has been able to intervene to some extent having collected samples and sent same to National Reference Laboratory to be able to establish the kind of organism that is causing the ailment and is availing victims of interim treatment.”
According to him, the Senate is “Deeply saddened that people are affected in the rural localities and dying on a daily basis in their numbers with Epeilo and Itabono Communities recording 20 and 25 deaths respectively, while death toll increases hourly and the disease is spreading to Ichama in Okpokwu where three deaths have been recorded.”