Published On: Thu, Oct 12th, 2017

FG: We’re not sure of monkeypox disease yet

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Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole Folorunsho

Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole Folorunsho

• As 7 patients recover in Bayelsa

By Lawrence Olaoye with agency report

The federal government has said that it has yet to confirm whether the disease currently spreading in the country is monkeypox or some other unknown virus.
This is just as 7 patients are said to have fully recovered from the disease in Bayelsa state.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday has also mandated the enforcement of no-work-no-pay law on striking workers in the country.
Briefing newsmen after the Council meeting, Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, said the government would commence campaign on yellow fever this Friday while vaccination against the disease will start by December.
On the ravaging monkeypox emanating from Bayelsa and reportedly spreading to Rivers, Ekiti, Akwa-Ibom, Lagos, Ogun and Cross-River states, the minister said the government was not sure whether the disease could be so classified.
He said, “The other one which is less topical but less deadly is monkey-pox and this actually started in Bayelsa and we have recorded 33 suspected cases in all from the states: Bayelsa, Rivers, Ekiti, Akwa Ibom,Lagos, Ogun and Cross-River. And what is particularly significant is that many of the cases so reported do not fit into the classic prototype of monkey pox. But we are trying to confirm before the end of today or early tomorrow we should be able to confirm exactly what we are dealing with, is it truly monkey pox. But what is obvious is that we have a disease that is close to the pox family.
He continued, “One of our scientists, Professor Christian Appeh, is looking into it in the laboratory to confirm if it is truly monkeypox. We are also doing a double confirmation in Senegal because Senegal also have a public health lab that could make diagnosis. We are looking at the two and hopefully in the next 24 or 48 hours, we should be able to make a diagnosis as to what we have.”
He, however, urged the people not to panic but enjoined them to report all suspected cases to health facilities and continue to maintain a high level of hygiene.
“Let’s wash our hands, let’s avoid contact with dead animals, clean our surroundings and as much as possible for health workers to maintain barrier nursing while managing people with suspected cases of monkey pox,” he counseled.
He added that the Council looked into the issue of private practice by medical doctors and pegged residency training program at seven years.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, who was also at the briefing told newsmen that the government, based on the report on a committee headed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) mandated to look into matters of industrial relations, resolved to apply the no-work-no-pay law on striking workers.
He said “First and foremost the report emphasized the need to implement the law on no-work-no-pay. The no work no pay is not a rule, neither is it a policy. It is a law captured on trade disputes Act of Federation.
“Section 43, to be precise, says that workers have a right to disengage from an employer if there is a break down in discussions or negotiation. But for the period that the worker does so, the employer should not pay and those periods are to be counted as non-pensionable times in the period of work.
“So council today re-emphasised that that law is still in sitting and that it should be brought to the knowledge of workers in the public and private sector, especially those in the public sector.
We have to do that because of the spate of industrial crisis we have suffered in the last two months, when we had plethora of strikes all over the place. So, Council has said this should be re-emphasised to workers so that they will know.”
The minister also said that he had been mandated to ensure compliance of union leaders to their constitutional terms of office in order to discourage the practice of sitting tight by some of the unionists.
Ngige added that the government would carry out job evaluation exercise on its employees to ensure their proper categorization.
He said “As we speak today, there are about 14 compartments of scales in the public service. It was agreed that there is need for job evaluation to let people know their status where they should start their employment and their progression with of course, financial attachments worked out by National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission.
Finally, council has set up a small committee to look at the Yayale report and the white paper should be brought to council for final stamp.”
Meanwhile, seven out of the 13 monkeypox patients on admission at the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital, Okolobiri in Bayelsa have fully recovered, the state Commissioner for Information, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, has said.
The commissioner said in a statement on Wednesday in Yenagoa that the seven patients had been discharged from the hospital.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the contagious disease broke out three weeks ago in Agbura area of Yenagoa following reports that a family manifested symptoms of monkey pox after eating monkey meat.
He said the six other patients under medical surveillance at the teaching hospital were responding positively to treatment.
“The government has been able to successfully contain the spread of the disease as no new case has been reported in the last few days.
“With the way and manner government deployed its machinery and with the team of dedicated health and medical personnel, monkey pox will soon be fully kicked out of Bayelsa state,” he added.
Mr. Iworiso-Markson commended the state Ministry of Health and National Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, for their efforts in containing the disease.
The commissioner also appreciated people in the state for taking preventive measures against further spread of the disease and urged them to maintain healthy lifestyle, environmental and personal hygiene.

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