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  • News - North West - Zamfara
  • Updated: May 09, 2024

NGO calls on Gov Lawal to tackle mystery disease outbreak in Zamfara

NGO calls on Gov Lawal to tackle mystery disease outbreak in

The Zamfara Circle, a Non-Governmental Organization, has urgently appealed to Governor Dauda Lawal to address a concerning outbreak of an unidentified disease. 

The organization revealed that the outbreak has reportedly impacted over fifty individuals, predominantly children, and has resulted in the deaths of three children.

This was contained in a statement issued by the Chairman of the Circle, Dr. Aminu M. Lawal, on Wednesday.

According to the statement, the group has written a letter to the Governor with a view to draw his attention over the need to act immediately on the outbreak of an unknown disease currently in the state which already affected few LGA's with Maradun and Shinkafi LGA's with the highest number of reported cases.

"Information available to the Circle indicates that so far about 40+ suspected cases, mostly children, are suffering from the yet to be identified disease suspected to be metal poisoning with symptoms such as distended stomach, difficulty in breathing and fever have been evacuated from Shinkafi LGA to Shagari PHC in Gusau where they are meant to receive better medical care. About 3 deaths have been recorded, so far. 

"The condition these people are living in is not worth sharing as some patients are left sleeping outside because of lack of enough beds. The patients also defecate openly, largely due to lack of toilet facilities. There is also acute lack of portable drinking water as well as adequate food supply. This is regarded as dangerous as the patients need to be regularly and adequately fed given the need for balanced diet as part of symptomatic treatment. 

"The Circle noted that Shagari Primary Health Care Center is currently under renovation which therefore made it inadequate to cater for those patients.

"Checks by the Circle revealed that, the Emergency Operation Center, EOC in collaboration with other partners have mobilized to the Centre to render emergency services but lack of proper coordination and logistical support from the Ministry of Health has hindered any meaningful progress. 

"The Circle understands that one of the major challenges facing the EOC is lack of regular operational funding from the State Government to deliver on its major and core mandate of responding to diseases of public health concerns.

"The Circle finds it worrisome that, at this critical time, the Commissioner of Health who is supposed to provide the needed and necessary leadership is currently out of the state. This, the Circle notes, is an indication of a clear lack of competence and understanding of the dangers the outbreak poses to the people of the state, the statement has noted. 

The Circle, therefore, urgently called on the Governor to, as a matter of urgency, intervene and properly handle the situation before it escalates and results in more casualties, therefore, wanted the Governor to direct the Commissioner to immediately return to the state and activate in full the Emergency Operations Center with all relevant Pillar Leads so that the outbreak is contained before the final diagnosis is made.

"The Governor should direct the opening of the Damba Infectious Disease Hospital and transfer all the suspected cases for proper medical care as Shagari PHC does not have the capacity to handle such cases, and provide security, food, medical consumables, fuel, and medications to the center.

"There urgently need to provide adequate funding to the EOC in order to respond appropriately to the outbreak, and to set up a Task Force with membership drawn from health experts as well as representatives from the Ministries of Environment, Agriculture, Humanitarian Affairs, CSOs and other relevant stakeholders to coordinate government’s response appropriately.

"The Circle wishes to remind His Excellency of his oath to protect the lives of good people of the state. Against this backdrop, the Circle enjoins His Excellency to act immediately and accordingly, the Circle added.

 

 

 

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