By Olikita Ekani
The Executive Governor of Benue State, His Excellency, Samuel Ortom has flagged off vaccination exercise against Yellow Fever in EPEILO, Otukpa Community in Ogbadibo local government area following the outbreak of the disease in the area.
Gov Ortom, represented by the Honourable Commissioner for Energy, Science and Technology and the Supervising Commissioner, Ministry of Health and Human Services, Hon Dr-Godwin Emmanuel Oyiwona tasked the Rapid Response Team sent by the state government to carry out the vaccination and treatment in all the communities being ravaged by the disease, urging the people to come out and be vaccinated.
Gov Ortom also directed that the exercise be extended to neighbouring communities of Ankpa-Owukpa and Ichama in Okpokwu local government where there had been reported cases too.
Responding on behalf of EPEILO community, an elder statesman and ACP of Police (rtd), Chief Oyigebe thanked Gov Ortom for his quick response to the deadly disease, saying this has shown that he has the interest of the community at heart.
He said the community urgently need hygienic water, functional healthcare centre and good road which would help reducing the negative impacts of the disease.
The medical team also visited General Hospital Otukpa where most of the cases were being treated and distributed vaccines and other materials to the health centre.
Giving appraisal of happenings so far in the hospital, the medical Director represented by Dr Ogbodo said 27 people have so far lost their lives, 6 have been discharged and only 4 still on admission but responding to treatment.
In Ibari-Ankpa-Owukpa, Itabono ward, the medical team had an interactive session with leaders of the community during which the people complained bitterly about the atrocious activities of herdsmen, bringing their cattle to drink the same water from the same stream serving as source of water for their domestic consumption, begging the state government to intervene.
They thanked Gov Ortom for sending their son, Dr Oyiwona and the medical team to their community, promising that they would mobilise their people for the vaccination exercise.
They added that provision of boreholes to the community would go a long way in reducing the spread of the disease.
Addressing pressmen shortly after distribution of vaccines and commencement of vaccination at Ibari, Ankpa-Owukpa, the representative of the governor, Dr Oyiwona advised the people to always boil their water before consumption and make use of the treated mosquito nets recently distributed to them.
In his reaction, the leader of the Rapid Response Team, Prof Stephen Abah assured the people of the team’s plan of ending the scourge, urging the people to come out for vaccination as the state government has provided enough vaccines and drugs to end the disease.
Also speaking, the Executive Secretary, Primary Healthcare, Benue State, Dr Bem Ageda said his team was also on ground to support the response team end the spread of the deadly fever.