Yobe State Government, Northeast Nigeria, has trained about 20 community health extension workers (CHEWs) with preventive messages about the monkeypox outbreak.
The state government deployed this strategy with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) support to reach 20,0000 households with risk communication messages.
Abubakar Bintu, 40, one of the trained CHEWs who lives in the state’s Potiskum Local Government Area (LGA), told HumAngle she visits the Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps to sensitise the residents about infectious diseases and interpersonal health risk messages.
“After my training, I have been sensitising the people in my community and IDPs camps on such diseases like measles, cholera, COVID-19, and the importance of vaccination,” Bintu said. “With the recent monkeypox outbreak reported in some states in Nigeria, I have been sensitising people about the disease as well.”
Umar Kwanda, the Yobe State Assistant Director of Health Promotion, explained that effective health risk messaging has become an essential tool for containing the spread of monkeypox among the communities and the most vulnerable persons.
Kwanda said interpersonal risk communication is pivotal in curtailing the spread of outbreaks.
“The WHO-supported community health champions are doing an incredible job educating the communities, especially awareness on monkeypox and COVID-19 vaccination. We would continue collaborating with the WHO to prevent community transmission of these preventable diseases,” he said.
Monkeypox outbreak in Nigeria
The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NDCD) said out of 66 suspected cases of monkeypox reported from Jan. to May 2022, 21 patients from nine states – Adamawa (5), Lagos (4), Cross River (2), FCT (2), Kano (2), Bayelsa (2), Delta (2), River (1), Imo (1) were reported.
Ifedayo Adetifa, the Director-General of NCDC, said the health agency was worried about the disease due to its close relation to the smallpox virus.
“Monkeypox can potentially change from being a sporadic transmission to something that can give the Nigerian health sector a major concern,” he said during an interview on Channels TV.
The situation is evolving rapidly, and WHO expects that more cases will come up as surveillance expands in non-endemic countries and countries known to be endemic that have not recently reported cases.
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