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MONKEY POX: Anambra Government Set Up Laboratory at COOUTH, Amaku, Awka



By Praise Chinecherem

The Anambra State Government says it was setting up a laboratory to diagnose cases of Monkeypox and other contagious disease to shorten the time of getting results for disease investigations.

The Commissioner for Health, Dr Afam Obidike, told journalists in Awka on Wednesday that the laboratory was situated at the Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu Teaching hospital (COOUTH), Amaku, Awka.

According to him, when completed, the laboratory will diagnose diseases such Monkeypox, Measles and  Lassa fever, as well as shorten the time of getting results for the investigations.

The  Commissioner also disclosed that the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), were assisting the state government to make the laboratory functional.

He described as unfortunate that NCDC’s National Reference Laboratory in Abuja was the only facility in the country with the capacity to diagnose monkeypox cases.

He told newsmen that: “So far, we have recorded three suspected cases of Monkeypox detected by our disease surveillance units in the local government areas.

“We are able to detect the first case, and in conjunction with WHO, it was confirmed. For the second case, the result is not out, while we are yet to get the sample of the third case across to the lab in Abuja.

“We have a massive laboratory at COOUTH and we are discussing with WHO and NCDC to activate it. It is in the final stages in terms of needed reagents for testing.

“Once the lab is ready, we can be doing Lassa fever, Measles and Monkeypox investigations there to shorten the time we get results for these investigations, “he said.

Obidike said the Ministry had  started contact tracing in all the recorded cases to contain the spread of the disease.

Describing Monkeypox as a viral infection, the commissioner urged residents to be careful and report symptoms such as unusual body rashes, fever and  headaches, to the hospital.

“We have been training our health personnel on how to detect this disease and manage it.

“There is no definite treatment, we just manage the  symptoms to prevent any other secondary bacteria infection, mortality or morbidity that could occur from there.

“All hospitals in the state have been directed to be vigilant and create an isolation room incase they suspect cases; and we will take it up from there by coming to collect samples,” Obidike said.

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