August 9, 2022

Health workers absent as measles outbreak kills 50 in Rivers

Measles cases spike as Nigeria, 4 others record largest outbreak in one year 


By Egufe Yafugborhi, PORT HARCOURT

COMMUNITY leaders in Kugbo Clan, Abua/Odual Local Government Area of Rivers State, yesterday, raised an alarm for urgent government intervention over the outbreak of measles said to have resulted in death of 50 persons.

It was gathered that the communicable disease said to have been noticed first in Amurouttoru-Kugbo community has spread to Emago-Kugbo and Akani-Kugbo in the clan, causing fatalities among children.

Levi Marcus, Chairman, Community Development Committee, Emago Kugbo community, said: “We have a situation ravaging Okugbo Clan, that is Emakgbo, Akani, and Akpotu. It is about measles.

“In Akani-Okugbo, from what we witnessed and confirmed, 20 children have died. Again, if you go to Amuruotoru, we the same situation. We have up to 15 recorded cases. We have tried our best to reach the government, but they have not responded.”

Youth Leader of Emago-Kugbo, Edoghotu Edwin, said: “The situation now is bad. Measles have taken over the community, and the children are suffering. Over 15 children have died in Emago.

“The situation has extended to Akani and Amuruotor. And we are calling on the government to come to our aid because there are no health workers to handle the situation.”

Dr. Eli Sokarimie, a gynecologist, explained that the situation may have been aggravated by lack of expert surveillance, failure to immunize babies and sensitise residence in the rural Abua/Odual locality.

Sokarimie, Executive Director, Mother Baby and Adolescent Global Health Foundation, noted: “Rivers State had the lowest prevalence of measles infection of 11 per 100,000 cases.

“However, reports have shown that in Nigeria, there has been a steady and persistent rise in the prevalence of measles among children under age five.”