Measles hit Benue IDP camps | Dailytrust

Measles hit Benue IDP camps

Several people have reportedly contracted measles at various Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in Benue State.

Our correspondent gathered that at least 60 people, mostly children above the age of five had so far been infected in some of the camps located in Guma Local Government Area of the state.

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It was learnt that over 30 people infected were recorded in the Ortese IDP camp in Guma while the remaining cut across the other IDPs camps in the state.

The State Commissioner of Health and Human Services, Dr Joseph Ngbea, had not yet responded to calls and SMS at the time of this report.

However, the Executive Secretary of State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Dr Emmanuel Shior, told journalists in Makurdi that, ‘the government, through the Ministry of Health is on top of the situation.’

He said, “Usually, during hot seasons like this, we experience issues of measles, so the Ministry is collaborating with SEMA, Doctors Without Borders (MSF), UNICEF and the ICRC (International Committee for the Red Cross), who are supporting us in the area of WASH. So, we are addressing the concern.”

Similarly, Mitch Rhyner, a Benue Project Coordinator, Medicines Sans Frontieres- Doctors Without Borders (MSF), admitted the outbreak of the disease in some of the camps where his organisation is working in the state.

Rhyner said, “I don’t have the most recent figures. I can’t say the number of positive cases, as far as we know, the numbers have been relatively stable over the past week, but it’s so important that preventive measures are taken.

“I can say that the Emergency Operation Center (EOC) has been activated by the Ministry of health and they are now proposing to do a vaccination campaign from March to April

“Both Daudu 3 and Ortese have had mass vaccination campaigns in the past year and that is being led by the ministry of health; MSF has provided support, mostly, logistical supports in those vaccination campaigns, but it seems as though some of those vaccines were intended for children younger than five and those being infected by measles are older than five.

He continued, “So that’s one of the reasons for shifting forward the date of vaccinations because that’s one of the most effective ways to prevent further spread.

“We’ve referred several suspected measle cases to Benue State University Teaching Hospital (BSUTH) and from there, samples have been collected and sent to Abuja for testing.

“The last time I checked and can give you recent data, of the sample of approximately 60 patients, at least 80 per cent were positive and that’s from the last couple of months because it took a while for the results to come back. But we are taking it seriously, especially in IDP camps where people are very close together.”


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