Monkeypox: Don’t wait on WHO, others, work it out yourself – Tomori tells FG

As Nigeria leads global death rate in monkeypox cases, an infectious disease expert, Professor Oyewale Tomori, has urged Nigeria and other African countries to speed up action on the spread of the disease, saying they should not rely on the international organizations and foreign aids.

He said although the country’s surveillance has been working, especially in the area of confirmation of suspected cases of monkeypox, more awareness was needed about its mode of transmission.

Prof Tomori gave the advice, on Sunday, while featuring on the Arise TV Morning Show Program.

“One of the positive things I can say in this is that our surveillance is working well in Nigeria. When you look at figures from other countries, I don’t think they are doing quite well.

“If you look at DR Congo, for example, most of their cases are regarded as suspected; only very few of them are confirmed. But if you look at Nigeria, a lot of our cases that are regarded as suspected are also confirmed, it is a step in the right direction”, he said.

He pointed that one of the easy ways people contact the disease was through direct contact and that people should be well enlightened about its mode of spreading.

“Having said that, the awareness we are getting is part of true surveillance, but then, this awareness should go well beyond that, to even to know that the disease is around and that the easy way of getting the disease is through direct contact. Therefore, people should be aware of it so that it does not spread.

“I think the name monkeypox is an aberration, it is not the disease of the monkeys, and that is where the first awareness needs to come in. You don’t need to contact the monkey before you get it. We believed that the original source of the disease are rodents, that’s where the virus developed from.

“Unfortunately, we have not done a little study to pinpoint and say these rodents are the original host of the virus’’, he explained.

The infectious disease expert also urged African countries to speed up actions on containing the spread of the monkeypox disease and not wait on international organizations for succor.

“I think the same thing that played out with COVID-19 is the same thing that will play out with monkey pox. So, I think African should begin to think, not depending on charity, or on equity. It should do something for itself.

“We cannot be waiting for international agencies to declare emergency for us before we take action.

Our focus should be awareness, identify the disease as quickly as we can, isolate the cases, ensure infection prevention and control”, he added.