From: Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity) has launched an enlightenment campaign to stop the spread of the Monkey Pox virus in Bayelsa State.
As of Monday, the number of the infected persons had dropped from 13 to 10, with three people treated and discharged from the hospital, while health officials were still on the trail of 50 people that were believed to have come in close contact with the infected persons.
The Bayelsa State chapter of NAS, in its awareness campaign, in Yenagoa metropolis, covering Kpansia market, Ekeki motor park, Opolo and Tombia roundabout, distributing hand bills which highlighted the symptoms of the disease, advised the people of the state to take seriously washing of therir hands, as well as it remained the best way to avoid contracting the disease.
Coordinator of NAS awareness programme, Mr. Timothy Egbonoje, in an interview, explained that NAS was complementing the state government’s efforts to inform Bayelsans about the disease so that they would not panic but take preventive steps to avoid being infected.
According to him, the Bayelsa State Government had been proactive on the steps taken especially with the isolation centre opened at the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital [NDUTH] to offer free medical care of the infected persons.
‘‘Today’s exercise is in keeping with the traditions of the Pyrates Confraternity which is aptly captured in the Pyrates creed which states that wherever the community in which we exist need a hand, the Pyrates must be the first. Ignorance from ancient times has been dubbed the greatest disease and we have by the grace of God set the ball rolling in fighting ignorance about the monkey pox epidemic.
“Cleanliness has always been the first line defence in the fight against contacting diseases including Monkey pox. Our enlightenment and awareness campaign which includes the distribution of hand bills and radio jingles would play a great role in checking the spread of this epidemic.
“Bayelsans have no need to fear or panic as the situation is under control and they need to understand that NDUTH is the place to go to receive free medical care and not indulging in self medications which might pose danger. We would urge government agencies and other well meaning organisations to step up programmes to help contain and stamp out the Monkey pox virus from Bayelsa.’’
Meanwhile the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Daniel Iworiso- Markson, has hinted that the state government would establish community radios to help government in its awareness campaigns.
Iworiso- Markson, speaking shortly after a short handover ceremony at his office, expressed satisfaction with the awareness programme launched by the state government in local languages on the monkey pox epidemic.
According to him, the state government would ensure there are community radios which would help people rural areas to be kept abreast of government policies and programmes.