NCDC Denies Monkeypox Vaccinations In South East  

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…..State Government Blames Panic On Information Gap

Yemisi Izuora

The Federal Government, through the National Centre for Disease Control, has denied executing vaccination against monkeypox in the South-East or any part of Nigeria.

The National Coordinator of the NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekwazu, while appearing before the Senate Committee on Primary Health and Communicable Diseases in Abuja, stated that the disease had no vaccine and the government was not conducting any immunisation on it, neither through civilian or military Organization.

Meanwhile JOE AKABUIKE, Anambra State Commissioner for Health, has allayed concerns generated by the Nigeria Army Medical Mission to Anambra State.

Akabuike, who visited St. Michaels’ Catholic Church, Ozubulu, venue of the incident met with officials of the Nigerian Army, who were holding free medical services to the people of Ozubulu and environs.

The commissioner, after interacting with the Army officials, told newsmen that a communication gap between the Nigerian Army and the Anambra State Government gave room for the false alarm.

He noted, however, that the state Ministry of Health was not fully informed of the exercise otherwise the exercise was a well-intentioned humanitarian service.

The commissioner, then allayed fears caused by the rumour peddlers, and went ahead to inspect some of the drugs, equipment and other items being used for the exercise.

Akabuike then certified them fit and adviced Anambra people to go about their lawful activities since, “there is no cause for alarm’’.

He commended the army for conducting the exercise and pledged that the state government would give them all the necessary support they would require.

He also praised them for using their `State of the Art Medical Facilities’ for the exercise.

Col. Ijeomanta, from the 82 Division, Enugu and one of the officers coordinating the exercise said they were not forcing people to access the free medical services.

He adds: “the army is a disciplined and responsible organisation that respects peoples’ fundamental human rights and could not compel anybody to access their services.

However, he disclosed that the free medical services were a component of `Operation Python Dance 2 and part of the Nigerian Army’s Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR.

At Ozubulu Community and environs, some people were thrown into fears and panic at the arrival of the Nigerian Army medical team to offer free medical outreach.

Unknown rumour mongers and fake news peddlers had used the social media to send panic, compelling people to forcibly withdraw their children and wards from schools.

It was gathered that in spite of the fake news outcry, the exercise at St. Micheals Catholic Church Field, Amakwa Ozubulu, Ekwusigo LGA witnessed massive turnout of people.

The general officer commanding, GOC, 82 Division, Enugu, Maj.-Gen. Mohammed Abubakar, who was represented by Brig.- Gen. J. O Ugwuoke further explained that the exercise was part of the Operation Python Dance 11 that had been ongoing in the state south east zone.

He said that the exercise had taken place in Enugu, Imo, Ebonyi, Abia and currently, Anambra stressing, “we don’t go from school to school and we do not give injections’’..

Ikenna Offordeme, Transition Committee chairman, Ekwusigo LGA, observed that it was sad that false information released on social media sparked off apprehension.

He, however, thanked the army for choosing Ozubulu for their humanitarian service to the state.

The services had more than five units: Ophthalmology, Dentistry, GOPD, Medical Laboratory Sciences Unit and Physiotherapy.

Others are Pharmaceutical Unit, Confectionery Unit had food and drinks for patients and more than 10 big sized canopies and seats.

The information officer reported that the medical officers did not take down names of patients as they treated without noting one’s identity. They, however, took vital signs.

They Dentistry unit had facilities for minor surgeries while, the Ophthalmology unit conducted free eye tests and gave out free glasses.

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