Measles Outbreak Ravaging Rivers Communities, Over 50 Children Feared Dead -Stakeholders Begs Govt Intervention
About 50 children are feared dead following a measles outbreak in Kugbo Clan of Abua/Odual Local Government Area of Rivers State.
It was learnt that the disease first reported in Amurouttoru-Kugbo Community has now spread to Emago-Kugbo and Akani-Kugbo communities leading to the death of several children in the three communities.
The Community Development Committee Chairman of Emago Kugbo Community, Levi Marcus, confirmed the incident to newsmen in Port Harcourt.
Marcus said, “We have a situation that is ravaging Okugbo Clan. That is to say, Emakgbo, Akani, and Akpotu. And the situation we are talking about is measles.
“In Akani-Okugbo, from what we witnessed and confirmed, 20 children have died. Then again, if you go to Amuruotoru, we also have the same situation. We have up to 15 recorded cases. “We have tried our best to reach the government, but they (government) have not responded.”
Also speaking, the Youth Leader of Emago-Kugbo community, Edoghotu Edwin, who said he visited other communities to ascertain the situation of things, appealed to the state government to come to the aid of the communities.
“The situation now is bad. Measles has taken over the community, and the children are suffering. Over 15 children have died in Emago.“We have tried our best to reach the government, but they (government) have not responded.”
The situation has extended to Akani and Amuruotor. And we are calling on the government to come to our aid because there are no health workers to handle the situation,” Edwin said.
Meanwhile, a health expert, Dr. Eli Sokarimie, said a recent report on the prevalence of measles in the country shows that Rivers State recorded the lowest.
Sokarimie, the executive director of Mother Baby and Adolescent Global Health Foundation, said lack of surveillance, failure to immunize babies, and lack of sensitization might be responsible for the outbreak of measles in the area.
“Rivers State had the lowest prevalence of measles infection of eleven per hundred thousand cases.
“However, reports have shown that in Nigeria, there has been a steady and persistent rise in the prevalence of measles among children under age five. “At present, there has been an outcry of measles infection in parts of the state, Abua/Odual local government area in particular.
The gynecologist called on government at all levels and private concerns to do their best to ensure that those in rural communities are immunized as well as sensitized to the dangers of measles and other diseases.
The state government is yet to speak on the matter, as an official in the ministry said the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, was attending a commissioning programme in Port Harcourt, the state capital.