Monkey Pox: Senate tasks FG on proactive measures to combat disease, Reps summon Health Minister


The Senate, on Tuesday, urged the Federal Government to be pro-active in containing and preventing the spread of Monkey Pox disease already prevalent in parts of the country.
Monkey Pox is a rare and infectious disease caused by monkey virus, transmitted from animals to human and with symptoms similar to those of smallpox.
The first incident of the disease in Nigeria was reported on September 22 in Bayelsa State.
The Senate said that the Federal Government’s measures could be undertaken through state and local governments.
The lawmakers also advocated enlightenment of citizens about measures that could be taken to mitigate risk factors of exposure to the virus.
They equally called for proper liaison by the Federal Government with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other relevant donor agencies for contingencies against eventualities.
The call followed the adoption of a motion on “Urgent Need for Pro-active Steps to Nip in the Bud Reported Outbreak of Monkey Pox Disease in Nigeria’’ by Senator Ali Wakili (APC-Bauchi) at plenary.
Presenting the motion, Wakili said that Monkey Pox infection resulted from direct contact with the blood, bodily fluids and mucosal lesions of infected animals.
He said that similarly, human infections had also been documented through the handling of infected monkeys, rats and squirrels with rodents being the major reservoir of the virus.
Decrying the spread of the menace, the lawmaker said that there were no specific treatments in the provision or availability of vaccine for it, adding that Nigerians had been thrown into panic since the epidemic began.
“Since there is no vaccine or specific treatment, the only ways to reduce the infection in people is through awareness of risk factors, enlightenment about measures to be taken to reduce exposure to the virus.”
Contributing, Sen. Magnus Abe (APC-Rivers) said there was need for proactive measures to be put in place in order to tackle the disease.
He said that the measures were necessary because nobody knew when the net disease would happen and how to tackle it.
Senator Emmanuel Paulker (PDP-Bayelsa) decried the spread of the disease and called for all hands to be on deck to curtail it.
The resolutions were adopted by all the lawmakers after a voice vote raised by the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has summoned the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, to explain the  measures taken by the Federal Government to tackle the outbreak and spread of Monkey pox, aside containing other viruses.
The invitation followed a motion moved by Rep. Diri Douye (Bayelsa-PDP) under matters of privilege.
Moving the motion, Douye expressed concern over the spread of the disease to other states in spite of concerted efforts by the Bayelsa State Government since its outbreak in Yenagoa.
He expressed worry that the outbreak of the disease was terrifying citizens since the first case was diagnosed involving an 11-year-old male patient on September 22.
Douye said that 14 suspected cases were now at different stages of recovery, with 55 close contacts identified and being monitored as at October 7.
The lawmaker urged the lower chamber to call on the Federal Government to provide funds and logistics to the state government to reach out to water-logged communities being threatened by the disease.
He further urged the House to commend Gov. Seriake Dickson for paying attention to the welfare of monkey pox patients.
The motion was unanimously adopted by members when it was put to a voice vote by the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara.
Dogara, however, referred the matter to the House Committee on Health to investigate and report back within two weeks for further legislative action.


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