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Over 60 children down with measles in Benue IDPs camps



Over 60 children down with measles in Benue IDPs camps

Samuel Ortom

By Aboje Anefu, Makurdi

OVER 60 persons, mostly children above five years old are reportedly down with measles at some of the Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs camps in Benue state.

It was gathered that while over 30 of the affected persons are from the Ortese IDPs camp in Guma Local Government Area of the state, the rest cut across the other IDPs camps in the state.

Efforts to confirm the development from the State Commissioner for Health and Human Service, Dr. Joseph Ngbea did not yield any fruitful results.

However, our reporter learnt that the Ministry may have set up some Emergency Operation Centres (EOCs) at the affected camps.

Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary, State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Emmanuel Shior, who spoke with newsmen said, “Government, through the Ministry of Health is on top of the situation.

“Usually during hot seasons like this, we experience issues of measles, so the Ministry is collaborating with SEMA, Doctors Without Borders, 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”, he stated.

Besides, Mitch Rhyner, Benue Project Coordinator, Medicines Sans Frontieres (MSF) who also confirmed the incident, said he does not readily have the figures of the affected persons at hand.

Over 60 children down with measles in Benue IDPs camps

He 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 Centre (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 have 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.

“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 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 percent 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”, Rhyner stressed.

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