A group under the aegis of the National Association of Government General Medical and Dental Practitioners has tasked Federal Government with protocols to prevent monkeypox and other epidemics.
The President of the association, Dr. Dokun Noel, made the call on the sidelines of its National Executive Council meeting on Wednesday in Abuja.
Noel frowned at the tagging of the country as the” epicenter of lots of epidemics, cholera, Lassa fever and the rising monkeypox by the Britain publication”.
He identified monkeypox as being at a minimal level at the moment with about 220 cases since the beginning of the year.
Noel, however, advised the government and other critical stakeholders to be proactive to prevent it from ”snowballing.”
He specifically advised that priority should be channeled towards disease prevention than cure.
Noel said, ”we have always been in the reactive stage when it comes to the issue of epidemics.
”Look at what happened when Ebola happened, that was when we started thinking about what to do, COVID-19 same attention.
”In 2019, monkeypox was referred to as Nigeria disease in a publication in Britain, whereas the first case that was reported was in Congo in 1997.
“It is like trying to give a dog a bad name on the other hand and we have not learned from our mistakes in the past.
”We lay too much emphasis on other things like curative which is more expensive than preventive.”
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the meeting with themed “The Role of General Practitioners in Nation Building”, and Sub-themed: ”The Impact of Disease Outbreak in Fragile Economy’’.
Speaking on the NEC sub-theme, Noel described the impact of disease outbreaks on the economy as massive.
According to him, ”tagging the country as number one epidemic center by Britain was a kind of barrier that was placed on our people from going there and Britain is a very good partner of Nigeria.
“It is not limited only to the goods that we send there, but the individuals that go there, they put a block round it, so it affects the economic situation of the country.”
Dr. Stephenie Ogunbo, a general practitioner, who identified monkeypox as `a zoonotic disease’ said in July, WHO described it as public health of emergency concern.
According to her, ”the disease which was towing the same line with COVID-19 required awareness creation.
“People need to be aware of the symptoms and how to guide against them.
”So, it is high time for everybody not only the health practitioners to be conscious of the disease,” she said.