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Published On: Thu, Oct 19th, 2017

FG: Monkeypox spreads to 11 states

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Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole Folorunsho

Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole Folorunsho

  • Debunks vaccination by military
  • Army to sanction rumour mongers

By Lawrence Olaoye and Tobias Lengnan Dapam

The federal government has indicated that the Monkeypox virus may have spread to 11 states with 74 suspected cases recorded.
This is just it dispelled the rumour that the Nigerian Army personnel were forcefully carrying out vaccination to spread the dreaded Monkeypox virus among school children in the country.
Briefing newsmen after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday, Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, said his ministry is currently not carrying out any vaccination exercise except in three states of Kwara, Kogi and Borno states.
There has been pandemonium in schools in several states of the South-East and South South where parents and guardians besieged primary schools to withdraw their wards upon a rumour that uniformed men were forcefully injecting the children with vaccines against Monkey-pox virus.
Adewole said the government will never start any vaccination campaign in any state without carrying the state government along.
He said “It is also important to use this opportunity to dispel the rumour circulating in the country that the military is vaccinating people and trying to spread Monkey-pox across the country. The military is not involved in any vaccination exercise and I must also really educate the Nigeria people about how vaccination campaigns are done. Federal government will take the lead but we do not conduct campaign without working with states. So, there is no way we will do campaign without working with the states and it is the state that will be in front and we provide support. The rumour that federal government is doing vaccination campaign is not true. And as of today, we are only doing vaccination campaign in three states.
“We are doing vaccination campaign against yellow fever in Kwara and Kogi because of yellow fever outbreak in some parts of the country. We are also doing cholera vaccination in Borno state and so anybody carrying the rumour, please help us educate Nigerians that it is not true. We are not vaccinating anybody. We plan to do measles campaign very soon and we will also do yellow fever before the end of the year and we will let you know.
“You will never find Federal staff conducting vaccination campaign without the support and active participation of the state ministry of health. This is just to correct the misconception.”
The Minister, in a separate statement yesterday, however, said that the military does not vaccinate or participate in vaccine exercise in any part of the country except two Local Government Areas in Borno State at the invitation of the Federal Ministry of Health to assist in reaching the inaccessible areas due to security challenges.
Adewole in the statement issued in Abuja by the ministry’s Director, Media and Public Relations, Boade Akinola, said there was no iota of truth in the claim and called on members of the public to remain calm as government is committed to the wellbeing of Nigerians wherever they live Asked by State House Correspondents whether he disowned the military exercise in the South-east, Adewole said he was only talking about vaccination.
According to him, the military in their campaigns may carry out social services like road construction, outreaches and measure blood pressures. The military is currently involved in Operation Python Dance in the South East and Crocodile S,I’ll in both the South-south and South-west.
On the activities of illegal kidney cartels, the minister warned that the people must be vigilant, seek advise and patronize only accredited institutions in the country.
He raised the hope with the determination of the government to upgrade health facilities in the country, there would be less need for people to travel out of the country for medical attention thereby reducing the possibilities of their falling victims of organs harvesters operating illegally.
On what the government was doing to curb the abuse of drugs among the youths, Adewole said “We are also working with the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria to educate people about the abuses. We are aware of the abuse of cough mixture because of the content and we are working hard in respect to this.”
He added that the government was also working with ECOWAS members countries to stop smuggling of tobacco into Nigeria. He said plans were ongoing to raise the tax on tobacco and its affiliate products to curb its abuse.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army, 32 Artillery Brigade in Akure, Ondo State has threatened to sanction those spreading false rumour that military personnel were vaccinating school children.
The army, said it would fish out and sanction those who spread rumours of an alleged planned vaccination of school children against monkeypox by soldiers.
The command said it would arrest those who spread the “wicked and fake”.
Reports quoted the Army Public Relations Officer, Ojo Adelegan, as saying that the army was not conducting any medical outreach in the state.

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